Emile Smith Rowe says committing his future to Arsenal was “an easy decision” having spent a decade working his way through the ranks at the club.
Given a chance to shine on Boxing Day last year against Chelsea, the 20-year-old midfielder hasn’t looked back and has now been rewarded by Mikel Arteta with a new long-term contract and the coveted number 10 shirt.
While his progress in the last seven months has been eye-catching, the youngster is quick to point out that it hasn’t been plain-sailing since he grabbed the attention of Unai Emery in pre-season three years ago.
Two loan moves, coaching upheaval and a spate of injuries have tested his mettle but he’s now looking to kick on.
“I didn’t have to think about it too much,” said Smith Rowe when asked about signing his new long-term contract in an interview with Arsenal.com.
“I’ve been at the club since I was 10 years old. For me it was just about carrying on at this club, like I said, I’m really happy. It was an easy decision.
“It’s been a crazy journey. I’ve been here since I was 10-years-old and coming through the ranks with loads of teammates along the way. Finally, putting pen-to-paper on a long-term deal is something that I’ve been waiting to do.
“I feel like it’s been an up and down journey. There have been a lot of downs with injuries and so on and I feel like I’ve had a lot of experience, going out on loan and stuff.
“It’s definitely been a hard one, but I’m really happy to commit my future to Arsenal.
“I feel like I don’t really try to set myself any challenges going forward, I try to keep moving forward game by game and see how it goes. I don’t like to put too much pressure on myself, but I’m sure it’s going to be a big season for me and the team as well.”
Looking ahead to the new season, Smith Rowe admits that his aim is to score more goals.
“The manager always wants me to score more goals, I think that’s important for the position that I play in,” he said.
“So I just want to try and score and create more goals for the team, I think that will help us majorly, so that’s what I’m going to focus on in training as well.”
He’s also looking to take more responsibility on his shoulders. “Definitely, there is always going to be pressure, but of course, I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
“I’m going to be ready for sure. I can’t wait to meet all the fans and stuff, it’s definitely a pressure I’m going to take on.
“Everyone knows the number 10 is a big shirt and a big position. I’m buzzing to be honest, I can’t wait to get on the pitch.”