Mikel Arteta has lavished praise on Emile Smith Rowe and says he’s delighted to have a young player with the qualities to play the number 10 role for Arsenal.
The midfielder impressed on loan at Championship side Huddersfield in the second half of last season and was tipped to challenge for a place in the Gunners midfield this campaign before a shoulder injury forced a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Game time in the Europa League and Carabao Cup in December helped him build up his fitness and he’s since put in impressive shifts in the wins over Chelsea and Brighton.
Ahead of Saturday’s game with West Brom, the boss was asked about the England under-20 international. It sounds like Smith Rowe has really made an impression.
“It’s a player that I really liked since the first day that I watched him,” said Arteta.
“It’s just the way he moves, how intelligent he is in the positions that he takes and his work rate, don’t underestimate that because he works really hard for the team.
“He had a really bad shoulder injury this year, he didn’t really train with us at all. For the last two weeks, he’s been much more involved and you can see what he brings to the team.
“I’m delighted to have a young player with his talent in that position as it’s something that we need.”
Prior to his recent performances, Arsenal had been weighing up a third January loan move for Smith Rowe. Having earned the trust of the coaching staff, it looks as though we’re going to shelve those ideas.