Arsenal legend Robert Pires has outlined what makes Matteo Guendouzi so important to the Gunners after his starring role in the north London derby draw with Tottenham .
Midfielder Guendouzi was man of the match as Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with fierce rivals Tottenham in Sunday’s clash at the Emirates.
The 20-year-old, who provided the assist for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s equaliser, has been one of the Gunner’s best players so far this season and has been rewarded with his first call-up to Didier Deschamps’ France squad for this week’s Euro 2020 qualifiers.
And now former Arsenal team-mate Pires, who won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal, has given his view on his fellow Frenchman’s importance to the team.
He hailed Guendouzi’s as a “warrior”, praising his combative style of play, his coverage of midfield, his tackling and his quick passing out of danger.
“Matteo is a warrior,” Pires told The Athletic . “He had a fantastic match.
“He’s a combative player and what I like about him is that he is consistent with that. He does his job, patrolling defensive midfield, winning the ball, tackling well, and then playing the ball quickly and simply.
“That’s why he is an important player for Unai and for Arsenal. I liked the reaction of the team to going 2-0 down, the manner of the response.”
Guendouzi was handed his first call up to the senior France squad as a replacement for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.
He had joined up with the French U21 team when he got the news, but admits he was somewhat taken by surprise when he was told of his promotion.
“I was having an afternoon nap, someone knocked at my door but I didn’t hear it, because I was asleep,” Guendouzi said. “Then the coach (Sylvain Ripoll) rang me, he said it was me who knocked etc, so I went to see him directly.
“He said: ‘We need to speak, I really like you, but you need to go. I was confused, I was like, where? He said: ‘The A team.’
“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. Then the coach spoke to me some more, explained the situation that I was with the senior team and it’s a dream.
“Thankfully I took a shower after, so that it could properly sink in. I think the coach can describe my reaction better than I can, but my eyes popped out of my head.”