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‘I was having an afternoon nap’ - Guendouzi on first France call-up

19:07 EAT 02/09/2019
Matteo Guendouzi Arsenal 2018-19
The Gunners midfielder has replaced the injured Paul Pogba in the senior squad and thought he was in dreamland upon hearing the news

Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has revealed he was taking an afternoon nap when he was called up to the France squad for the first time.

The 20-year-old was with France's U-21 team and said that he was fast asleep when he got the phone call for his inclusion for upcoming international fixtures.

Guendouzi explained how he couldn’t believe the news of his promotion into Didier Deschamps’ latest squad.

“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.”

“It is a big surprise for me today,” added the Gunners midfielder. “This is a dream of mine since I was a kid. 

“This is extraordinary, I think that any French player would want to be in this team. 

“It is ginormous. There aren’t enough words to describe how it feels.”

Guendouzi has represented France at Under-18, 19, 20 and 21 levels, and was part of the Under-21 squad that lost to eventual winners Spain at the 2019 European Championship in Italy earlier this year.

The 20-year-old replaces Paul Pogba for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers at home to Albania and Andorra, with the Manchester United midfielder withdrawing from the squad with an ankle injury.

The Gunners youngster starred in Sunday’s north London derby meeting with Spurs, and was heavily involved in both Arsenal goals as they came from two-nil down to draw the game.