Unai Emery has admitted that Arsenal were watching Matteo Guendouzi for a while before he signed for the club this summer, and he’s been impressed with the 19-year-old’s progress ever since.
Speaking to the press about the emerging youngster, Emery confirmed that Arsenal were already on Guendouzi’s case when he joined as head coach. After completing the signing, the midfielder had a difficult first day with his new team, but then stepped up to the challenge in a big way.
“The club had worked and watched him, we agreed,” he said. “When he arrived here – not the first day, which was very difficult – but after two weeks we spoke and said: ‘His performance is a very big surprise’. In each training session and match we need him to show this progress consistently.
“Today, he is progressing like the first two weeks, very positive. He is hungry – he wants to improve, he wants to learn every day, every match. He is doing it his way, with character and quality. We are very happy with him but every match is a chance to show this progress with consistency.”
That’s always the most important point to stress when it comes to young players. When it comes to breaking into a senior side the biggest issue is always consistency, because different opponents will provide you with challenges you’ve never faced before.
Plenty of players can make their debut under ideal conditions and get everything right for 90 minutes, but it’s keeping that up for a season that’s the problem.
If you can overcome those new hurdles and take them in your stride, that’s great. If not, you just have to make sure you learn from the experience and prepare for next time. Hopefully Guendouzi will show that he’s still ready to learn and adapt when things don’t go his way. We’ll have to wait and see.