Guendouzi surprised by instant impact at Arsenal

Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi celebrates scoring their third goal in a match against Qarabag in Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan. (Reuters pic)

BENGALURU: Matteo Guendouzi concedes few people would have heard of him before he arrived at Arsenal last year and that while he is surprised to have become a regular in the starting 11 so quickly he has already shown he brings something different to the team.

The 19-year-old Frenchman was signed in July from Ligue 2 side Lorient and has quickly become a favourite of manager Unai Emery, making 33 appearances in all competitions.

“I’m a bit surprised that everything has been going so well,” Guendouzi told the Evening Standard.

“I had a chance during the pre-season tour and I took it, I showed I could be part of this team.

“Let’s be honest, apart from the players here who follow a bit of the French leagues, no one had ever heard of me.”

No other teenager has played more minutes in the Premier League this season and Guendouzi credits Emery for having faith in him so early on in his Arsenal career.

“I owe him a lot because he has trusted me from the beginning. To give so much playing time to a 19-year-old at Arsenal is rare,” Guendouzi added.

Arsenal trail BATE Borisov 1-0 in their Europa League last 32 and host the Belarusian side in the second leg on Thursday.