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‘Guendouzi is going through football puberty’ – Arsenal loanee has ‘rebellious’ streak, says Hertha boss Dardai


The Bundesliga club’s coach says the midfielder still has much to learn about the professional game

Matteo Guendouzi is going through football “puberty”, according to Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai, who says the Arsenal loanee has a “rebellious” streak.

Guendouzi is currently taking in a season-long loan at Hertha, having been exiled from Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal squad post-lockdown last season.

The Frenchman has been regularly criticised for his attitude since joining the Gunners in 2018, and Dardai says he is still some way off the required level of maturity for a top-level footballer.

What was said?

The Hertha head coach told Bild of Guendouzi’s ongoing development: “It’s like puberty for him, he’s kind of a rebel. He has to work and learn like an animal.”

In Sunday’s 3-0 defeat by RB Leipzig, Guendouzi was introduced as a 68th minute substitute and, three minutes later, lost the ball inside his own box, leading to Leipzig’s second goal.

Regarding this situation, Dardai said: “In training, I always stop these kind of duels because you can’t fall to the ground like this. And, afterwards, he’s mad.”

How has Guendouzi performed for Hertha?

Guendouzi has been a regular in the Hertha starting XI this season, taking in 17 appearances across all competitions to date.

The 21-year-old has provided two goals and one assist during that period, and earned special praise from the club’s sporting director Arne Friedrich in December.

“He’s a fantastic player,” said Friedrich. “We are very, very happy to have him here and he’s worth every penny.”

Guendouzi’s temper

Despite the fact Guendouzi’s spell at Hertha has gone relatively smoothly so far, it was reported that he was involved in a heated exchange with Matheus Cunha as the players made their way out for the second half of a 3-0 defeat to Hoffenheim on January 19.

The France Under-21 international has been prone to similar volatile outbursts at Arsenal, most notably during a Premier League clash with Brighton last June.

Guendouzi appeared to grab Neal Maupay by the throat after the Gunners’ 2-1 loss, and reportedly bragged to Brighton players about his career earnings at Emirates Stadium.

Rumours of bust-ups with Sokratis and Edu at a mid-season training camp had surfaced before that, with Arteta ultimately deciding that the midfielder could head out on loan for the 2020-21 campaign.

What’s next?

Guendouzi will be back in contention for a place in Dardai’s line-up when Hertha take on Wolfsburg at Volkswagen Arena on Saturday.

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