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Arteta impressed with first-teamers' dedication

Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric

After watching Fabio Vieira, Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric Soares all turn out for our under-21 squad in midweek, Mikel Arteta is delighted to see the willingness of his players to improve or maintain their match sharpness.

The trio all dropped down to play with the younger side against Swansea City, with Cedric netting the winner via an excellent free-kick, and followed in the footsteps of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Marquinhos who have also used the Premier League 2 to gain extra minutes.

It has left Arteta thrilled with the commitment of his squad, who said: "I think there were three different cases. Fabio and Emile - they have been injured, they haven’t had any minutes, they needed that exposure. With Cedric it was more a case of giving him the option.

"He wasn’t in the squad last week, he hasn’t played many minutes in pre-season. He said straight away that he wanted to play, and you can see the attitude that he has."

Summer recruit Marquinhos had previously netted three times in our opening two Premier League 2 games, and despite not featuring against the Swans has already caught Arteta's eye, who revealed he will be keeping him at the club for the next few months at least to aid his development.

Marquinhos celebrates scoring against West Ham U21s

"I’m very happy with him," the boss added. "He’s adapted very well and he’s a really likeable figure in the dressing room and around Colney. His language is not great yet but I think his physicality has been pretty exceptional, for someone who has come from Brazil and has to find a different way to train and play, but he’s done it. 

"I think he’s got the qualities for how we want to play. We will keep him here for another few months and makes sure that he establishes himself at the club and in the team, and afterwards we’ll see what the best movement for his career."

Arteta was in the stands for the Swansea game, as he was when we beat Manchester United in Mehmet Ali's side's first game of the season, and hopes to attend as many of our youngster's games as possible to run the rule on potential prospects for first-team action.

"When we have the time, we want to take the opportunity to be there, be close to them and give support to Mehmet, the coaches and the players," he added.

"We need to build the connection between the first-team and the academy and be very much aligned in how we want to play, evolve our players and basically get the talent into the first-team. That’s the aim that we have as a club."

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