Jamie Redknapp has defended Matteo Guendouzi after Mikel Arteta again left the Arsenal midfielder out of his squad for the FA Cup win over Sheffield United.
The Gunners have now won two games in a row since Guendouzi was dropped, with the 2-1 quarter-final win against the Blades following last Thursday’s 2-0 Premier League victory at Southampton.
Arteta dropped Guendouzi after he controversially grabbed Brighton striker Neal Maupay by the throat at full-time in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to the Seagulls nine days ago.
The 21-year-old Frenchman was alleged to have taunted Brighton players over their inferior wages compared to his own £40,000-per-week pay packet.
It has since been reported that Guendouzi has told Arsenal bosses he wants to leave, while Gunners boss Arteta refused to confirm whether the midfielder will still be at the Emirates next season.
“I refuse to hammer the 21-year-old for his trash talking against Brighton,” Redknapp wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.
“He apparently brought up money with Neal Maupay. It’s crass, it’s unkind, but it happens. It’s happened since day dot in football and it will always happen.
“I’ve made comments, too. ‘Who are you? Turn around and show me your name because I’ve not got a clue who you are.’
“It’s all said in the heat of the moment. A player says something he later regrets.
“So to slaughter Guendouzi for sledging, to borrow the cricket term, is unfair. He is not the first to do it, he won’t be the last.”
Redknapp had some advice for Guendouzi, urging the midfielder to learn from his axing and improve his attitude – and his performances.
“I’d rather focus on his performances,” said the former England international.
“If you want to act like a big player, play like one. Let’s hope being dropped by Mikel Arteta comes as a reality check and he learns from it.”
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