Matteo Guendouzi reveals France Under-21 coach played trick on him over senior call-up

The Arsenal youngster could hardly believe he’d been called up to the senior team (Picture: Getty)

Matteo Guendouzi has revealed that he briefly thought he was being dropped from the France Under-21 squad as coach Sylvain Ripoll teased him over his senior call-up.

The Arsenal star was drafted into Didier Deschamps’ World Cup-winning squad after Paul Pogba was forced to withdraw with an injury, though he was taking a well-earned nap after his north London derby exploits when Ripoll came to deliver the news.

After the coach was forced to wait outside the door for several minutes, he decided to play a little trick on Guendouzi to make him fear he’d been axed – only to then reveal the real reason he was leaving the Under-21 set-up.

Guendouzi trained with the senior France squad at Clairefontaine on Monday (Picture: Getty)

Asked about the call up, the midfielder explained: ‘Actually, I was taking a nap and someone knocked on my door. I didn’t answer because I was sleeping I swear.

‘Then my phone rang and it was the coach on the phone. He said, “It’s me, I knocked” and so on. Obviously I went and opened the door straight away!

‘And then he said, “Matteo, come here, we need to talk.” He said, “I like you very much but you have to leave.”

‘And I said, “What do you mean I have to leave? What do you mean?” He said, “Actually, you’re going with the senior France national team.

‘In my mind I was like, at first I couldn’t believe it. Ten minutes before I was asleep – I thought it was still a dream!

‘The coach and I, we had a good talk, he explained it well. That’s it, he told me I was in the national team of France. It’s a dream. I’m glad I just showered for the sake of my awareness.’

Asked how he reacted, he added: ‘My eyes were wide open. I think coach Sylvain Ripoll can better describe the reaction I had than me. It’s a big surprise for me today.’


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