Arsenal's Matteo Guendouzi has credited his manager Unai Emery for helping him break into the French national team squad, after the midfielder was called up to the senior squad for the first time.
Having arrived in north London in 2018, Guendouzi enjoyed a promising start to his Premier League career last season, but seems to have taken his game to another level in the early stages of the current campaign.
The 20-year-old has started each of Arsenal's four games so far, and played a pivotal role in helping his side fight back to earn a 2-2 draw against Tottenham prior to the international break.
Explaining his rapid improvement, Guendouzi spoke of a conversation with Emery during pre-season, where it was made to clear to him what he needed to do to establish himself as a first team regular.
"Whether it’s defensively, with the ball and without it, the manager wanted me to work on a lot of things. At a tactical level, I felt I progressed a lot. I managed to make myself important in the team. It’s something I really wanted to do. The manager told me he knew that I would be a key part of his team this year. That’s what I’ve managed to do so far," he told L'Equipe, as reported by Metro.
Guendouzi's performances earned him his first international call-up earlier this week when Paul Pogba withdrew from the French squad due to injury. Reflecting on his reaction to the news, Guendouzi admitted that it was an emotional moment in his fledgling career.
"Since I was kid, it was a goal of mine. A dream. The fact it’s become true, you recall all the steps in your career: the hard times, the important moments. It’s when you’re on the phone with your family that it sinks in. There are some crying. Wearing this shirt, it’s a great honour," he added.