By Joe Moore
12th September 2019,
Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker has told talkSPORT the club expect Matteo Guendouzi to be a ‘future leader’ at the club.
The 20-year-old has made a superb start to his second season with the Gunners and had fans purring with his performance in last week’s north London derby against Tottenham.
The young midfielder’s sparkling form earned him a first call-up to the France national team last week, although he did not play in either of their wins over Andorra or Albania.
Still, his step up to the France senior squad caps his meteoric rise following his arrival from Ligue 2 club Lorient last summer for just £7million.
He has made 52 appearances for Arsenal, scoring one goal and making two assists, and has started in each of the Gunners’ four Premier League games this season.
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And with fans and pundits currently questioning the captaincy of Granit Xhaka, Mertesacker has admitted the club are practically grooming Guendouzi for that role.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT about the youngster, the World Cup winning former Arsenal defender said: “I think on the pitch you can see his sense of confidence, no matter where he is.
“He has the confidence to receive the ball and take it on toward the goals and assist.
“He’s someone we need to really watch. In terms of can he be a future Arsenal leader and be consistent week in week out? That’s what we expect from him now.
“We’re in a situation where we need players to step up. Everyone is asking: ‘Who is the captain? Who are the leaders?’
“We need players who step up on the field and show what they’ve capable of, and I have a good feeling we have a lot of people who can do that.”