Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has taken a swipe at head coach Mikel Arteta by claiming he has not been able to produce his best football due to a lack of minutes this season.
The club’s record signing has started just one Premier League fixture this season in the1-0 defeat at Manchester City, and instead has been a more permanent fixture in cup competitions.
The Ivory Coast international featured in both of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup victories at Leicester and Liverpool and has impressed with two goals and two assists in the Europa League group stages so far.
But despite the 25-year-old’s good return in those competitions, he has suggested he is unhappy at Arsenal and is currently playing without a smile on his face.
‘My goal is to play more. Have a little more playing time,’ Pepe told French outlet Canal Plus.
‘A player who plays is happy. For me, I would like to play a little more to find a smile again.
‘He [Arteta] wants me to be 100 per cent focused during the 90 minutes of the match. Afterwards, I see during training that I will be a substitute the following weekend.
‘But the coach speaks to me, he also has assistants who are there for that. But it is frustrating for any player to be on the bench.
‘A super-sub role? The coach makes his choices. It’s up to me to show him that I don’t have that role.’