From Ligue 2 to the World Champions in 18 months. Mattéo Guendouzi’s rise to the summit of world football brought a surprise to the world of sport but nobody was more shocked than the Arsenal midfielder.
🇫🇷 Congratulations Mattéo Guendouzi. The Frenchman has been called up to the french national senior team. 👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/AdriwEkyJB
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) September 2, 2019
The 20-year-old told the media: “I was having an afternoon nap. In my head I was like wow! I didn’t believe it initially because 10 minutes earlier I was sleeping. I thought I was still in a dream. This is extraordinary. It is ginormous.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery decided to sign the Frenchman from Lorient in the 2018 summer transfer window for a shrewd £7m, chump change in hindsight for a player who is set to make his debut for the current world champions. With 37 Premier League appearances already to his name, Guendouzi has solidified himself as the first midfielder on the team sheet with starting every game this season, a decision backed up with his notable man of the match performance in the Gunners comeback to salvage a point against North London rivals Tottenham at the weekend.
Mattéo Guendouzi's North London derby:
30 final-third passes
3 tackles made
2 fouls won
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) September 3, 2019
The Spanish manager was singing Guendouzi’s praises following his performance, he told Arsenal.com: “He gives us a lot of control and also the combinations for us mean he’s very important in the team. He’s one of the key players to do that.
“He’s working to get a balance defensively and also working on his body to get stronger in the situations needed in the Premier League. Today was one step more but he’s very demanding of himself and we’re progressing with him.”
Following the news of his first call up fans were quick to congratulate him on his achievement on social media.
Mattéo Guendouzi has been called up to the French senior team. You love to see it.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) September 2, 2019
Guendouzi call up for France in place of Pogba. What a gargantuan upgrade. In for a treat.
— FK ☕️🐍 (@fkhanage) September 2, 2019
So proud of Guendouzi. Well deserved call up to France NT. Their midfield is packed as it is, and for him to be given a chance tells you all you need to know about his special talent. Generational midfielder. Sven Mislintat we love you.
— LTArsenal™ (@ltarsenal) September 2, 2019
What next for Mattéo Guendouzi?
Having solidified his starting place at his club, it is now time for the youngster to showcase his talent on the international stage as France take on Albania and Andorra in qualifiers for Euro 2020. Guendouzi certainly has big boots to fill as he replaces Manchester United’s injured Paul Pogba who was one of the key men in Didier Deschamps World Cup winning squad last summer.
Guendouzi will be aiming to be as decorated as those that came before him. It is one thing playing for France and Arsenal, it is another thing winning silverware with those sides. The current progress and attitude shown by the youngster will only increase the chances of fulfilling those goals.
After the international break, it is back to business at club level as he will rejoin the Arsenal squad to prepare for the next match against Watford at Vicarage Road on the 15th of September. The reds will attempt to pick up three points after failing in the previous two outings against Liverpool and Spurs.