Jeremie Aliadiere, the former Arsenal star who spent time playing at Lorient with Matteo Guendouzi, says the midfielder needed to change his attitude to be a real success.
Considering he’s made almost 40 appearances in less than a season with Arsenal, it’s easy to forget Guendouzi is still just a teenager finding his feet at the top level. Part of that is because he’s already spent two seasons in senior football in France, during which he spent some time playing alongside Aliadiere.
The former Gunner was asked in an interview in Le Telegramme on Wednesday whether he expected this sort of explosion from the midfielder, to which he responded that it depended on whether the teenager could change his attitude.
“Frankly, from the point of view of talent and purely football, if I’m just talking about that, there is no surprise,” Aliadiere said. “After, during my last season in Lorient, when he started to train with us and to play, I had a little question about his attitude.
“I said to myself: He’ll have to change a bit. He’s in Lorient, so it’s understandable, it’s a small family club, that’s it. But if he wants to climb the ladder and go play in a big club, his attitude will have to change. I think he understood that right away when he arrived (at Arsenal).”
“As soon as he arrived at Arsenal, he saw that it was not the same and that he was really in a big club, with big structures.
“Afterwards, Unai Emery put him under direct pressure. He played him right away because he did not have a lot of choice either. Torreira was not there, there was not a big crowd in the middle. He said to himself, “Listen, we’re going to throw the kid directly, we’ll put him on and we’ll see”.
“Matteo said to himself: “This is my chance. I play right away, no one knows me”. He started with friendlies and immediately showed that he was not there to spend a year of adaptation.”
Clearly, the opportunity to prove himself playing regularly at the top level has helped Guendouzi to focus and improve his attitude towards football in general. Whether that improvement will last over the next 10 years of his career, we’ll have to wait and see.