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Declan Rice hails "special" talent who Arsenal team-mates all want to "succeed so much"

Declan Rice admits everyone at Arsenal is determined to see Kai Havertz succeed after he scored his first goal for the club on Saturday.

The German made the switch across London from Chelsea in the summer after an up and down three years at Stamford Bridge. He had failed to make an impact in the opening weeks of the season though, and pressure was growing with Havertz struggling to contribute in the final third.

A penalty in the 4-0 win at Bournemouth presented the playmaker with the chance to open his account and, despite not usually being on spot kick duty, he stepped up to score, easing the burden that has been building with his team-mates all confident of what he can achieve.

Rice, a fellow summer signing, said: “It was emotional, for the fans, for Kai, for everyone involved, because we want him to succeed so much. Honestly, he works his socks off every day in training.

"In games he gives absolutely everything. He’s had chances to score this year, hadn’t scored yet, but today to slot away a penalty in that high-pressure moment shows the mindset that he’s got, shows the talent he’s got and his all-round performance was so special.

“We’re a young group of lads who really believe and trust in the manager. He’s brought that environment into the club, and the whole energy around the place in terms of staff, the players, the fans at the Emirates.

“It’s such a special feeling. It’s really good to be a part of and like I said, that’s why I came to Arsenal, It’s real honour to play for this club and when there are special moments like this, it’s really good.”

Kai Havertz opened his account for Arsenal from the spot (

Image:

PA)

Arsenal's win on the south coast remains they stay unbeaten - one of only two sides to do so along with neighbours Tottenham. The three points also lifts them to within a point of Manchester City, who lost at Wolves in surprising fashion.

Mikel Arteta has continued to defend Havertz in recent weeks as he trials him in new positions. The German has been played in a deeper role, but the Spaniard continued to back him despite criticism coming his way, thanking the fans for sticking by the player.

“The other thing (that pleased him) apart from the win is the human level of what they have done today as a team - to give the penalty to their teammate and have the empathy for a player like Kai, who externally is having some question marks, and that level of trust to take it and win the game for us.

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“As a manager I’m more proud of this than the victory because this is what you try to build - the culture and environment that they support each other, have their backs and enjoy what we are doing. It’s worth it, it’s real and it’s not forced. They made the decision and showed the leadership without me even telling them so that’s much more powerful.

“And thank you to our supporters, because the way they have supported our team and Kai - it is going to mean the world to him. Thank you so much.”

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