Matteo Guendouzi admits he has matured since leaving Arsenal following disciplinary shortcomings

Marseille midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has admitted that he has become a more mature player since leaving Arsenal in 2020.

The 24-year-old is currently on loan with Lazio and has been one of their best players so far this term, putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the first leg against Bayern Munich in their Champions League round of 16 fixtures.

Guendouzi joined Arsenal from Lorient in the summer of 2018 and was a key player for two seasons, featuring in 82 games across all competitions before joining Hertha BSC on loan in October 2020.

The France international moved to Marseille in July 2021 and had the option-to-buy in his clause activated a year later by the Ligue 1 club, spelling an end to his Arsenal career.

Guendouzi openly rowed with Gunners manager Mikel Arteta during Arsenal’s warm-winter training camp in Dubai in February 2020 and was granted permission to go on holiday before the 2020 FA Cup final victory against Chelsea.

He had fallen out of favour after the Spaniard replaced Unai Emery in December 2019 and was then axed from Arsenal’s matchday squads altogether after grabbing Neal Maupay’s neck against Brighton & Hove Albion on June 20, 2020.

The Gunners readily let go of the midfielder as he was no longer part of their plans and he believes he would have behaved better had he not been a teenager at the time.

“I didn’t work with Arteta a lot, I only had six months,” Guendouzi told The Athletic.

“I was 19, so I was learning every day. I wouldn’t make the same mistakes I did when I was 19. But in football, every day you learn and mistakes are part of football. Mistakes are part of life. You become a better man and a better footballer with mistakes. For me, it was a very good club because I played a lot.

“Arteta is doing a very good job at Arsenal, they are fighting for the title, they are a very good team and he’s doing amazing things. I hope they will get a trophy because Arsenal is a big club. I wish the best for them.”

The midfielder is still very much hot-headed and was sent off following a clash with Christian Pulisic in the dying moments as Lazio lost 1-0 to AC Milan last Friday night.

Arsenal have moved on and bolstered their midfield with the additions of Jorginho and Declan Rice, and while Guendouzi was popular with the fans due to his passion, he was not disciplined enough to play for Arteta.

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