Mikel Arteta was impressed by Emile Smith Rowe’s performance against Dundalk, admitting the youngster coped well with an unfamiliar position.
The 20-year-old played 77 minutes of the Gunners 4-2 win in Dundalk and was a lively presence on the left-flank where he dovetailed well with wing-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Having come off the bench to score in last week’s win over Rapid Vienna at the Emirates, Smith Rowe will now be hoping to stake a claim in matchday squads for upcoming Premier League games.
In his post-game press conference, Arteta was asked about the midfielder’s performance and progress.
He replied: “He hasn’t played many games, he played in a position that doesn’t suit him perfectly for his qualities but you can see that every time he’s around the ball that something is going to happen.
“He has a lot of creativity, he’s a player that has the quality to receive the ball and do things in high-value spaces when things get open. He’s a threat and I’m really happy with his performance.”
Arteta was also asked if Eddie Nketiah might get a chance to start in the Premier League after notching his fifth goal of the season in tonight’s 4-2 win. In a spiky mood, the boss took umbrage with any suggestion he hadn’t given the youngster enough opportunities on the domestic front.
“He has started [in the league] and he has the possibility to start again, as you said.
“He’s a goal threat, he’s a player that always is very close in every action around the box. He’s lively. He’s got the hunger and he’s only satisfied when he scores. So he’s an option, for sure.”