A goal for England under-21s in their 4-0 win over France on Saturday night served as a timely reminder of Emile Smith Rowe’s prowess in the penalty box as he looks to get back into the reckoning at Arsenal for the final 10 matches of the season.
A long-standing groin injury proved particularly problematic for the midfielder throughout 2022 limiting his time on the pitch until the decision was taken in September to undergo surgery.
Expectations were high that he’d be able to hit the ground running on his return in January but a small setback and the form of his teammates have continued to restrict his game time. Since the turn of the year, he’s played just 63 minutes in the Premier League.
After hitting double figures for the Gunners during the last campaign, it’s barely believable Smith Rowe is closing in on a year without a goal on the domestic front.
It’s been a period to forget but the Arsenal number 10 is focused on making a difference in the coming months for club and country.
“I’ve never had surgery before so at the start I was quite worried because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” he told The Athletic. “I didn’t know if I was going to be the same after it.”
A header by @emilesmithrowe at the back post to give our #YoungLions the lead! 👏 pic.twitter.com/1VMuR8lAuW
— England (@England) March 25, 2023
He added: “This is my last season with the England under-21s so I need to make sure I’m playing. I need to be getting minutes, scoring and assisting as much as I can.
“Obviously my aim is to get back into the Arsenal team, too. I’m desperate to be playing because the team are doing really well and it’s something I want to be a part of.
“For me, I’ve got to stay fit now for when the manager needs me. I know the team is on fire and they’re doing really well.
“I’ve never been in this position, being left out so often, but I’m trying to work as hard as I can so I’m ready to perform.”
Even if he doesn’t make it to the starting 11 this season, I’m sure he’ll have a part to play from the bench. Was an amazing impact sub for a part of last season.
He’s already made a crucial intervention this season, might not have beaten Bournemouth without him.
I personally think his attributes are so promising for the number 8 position.
He’s combative, carries the ball amazingly well and loves making late runs into the box.
But if we are signing Declan Rice in the summer, or at least upgrading in that position, I’m not sure how much room there will be.
I think Arteta’s movements in the summer will say a lot about how much he values the Smith.
If, as we assume, Arsenal buy a WF and a CM then I do worry about his game time and his place in this squad.
Save the huge money on Rice, get a TP back-up (and whatever else we need) and have ESR competing for a place in the side.
ESR is versatile so he’ll get playing time some way or another. He can play CM, CAM, LW, False 9.
Despite us (and Arteta) talking about it, I’ve never seen him play at false 9 or CM. And the profile of our wingers has changed quite a bit.
Add to that Vieira being first choice backup to the Xhaka and Odegaard role and you do have concerns for Emile.
Vieira’s future at Arsenal, to my mind, is not more certain than ESR if his displays are anything to go by.
I think you only have to listen to the way that Arteta speaks about FV to know that isn’t necessarily true.
Viera is actually the backup to ESR role when ESR was injured. Plus, ESR is not just a backup. He is a contender for starting XI.
I’m only going from my gut and what Arteta has said.
But I think FV is currently a little higher up the pecking order than ESR.
But he shouldn’t be, you’re right. ESR has proved himself to a greater degree than FV.
Buy them all
Buy! Buy!! Buy!!!
I’m in agreement with that, especially if Rice is going to cost +£80m. We shouldn’t be drawn into silly money transfers just because Chelsea are poorly managed and economically reckless.
And also worth thinking about, Charlie Patino is rumoured to be staying at Arsenal next season.
He looks like an 8 at the moment and to have Charlie and ESR battle it out for the Xhaka replacement role would be interesting.
Imagine if we did buy Rice though, and somebody else, and kept all of the others. Plus another winger.
I’m intrigued to see what we actually do. The first team is very strong already but there is certainly room for improvement, particularly in the wider squad.
If we have loads of depth and everyone has to fight for a place there will inevitably be some individual losers, who may be beloved academy graduates, but the final priority has to be the overall squad strength.
It would be exciting. But having a bloated squad where many aren’t getting games can create a toxic environment and damage team morale.
Just ask Graham Potter…
No we don’t want that, but we will be wanting to compete on 4 fronts next season incl Champions League
We are still looking a bit thin in certain positions
Maybe we should also ask Pep how he manages such a large squad depth without the environment being toxic. It hurts to see good players sit on the bench but that’s what make you a top team. You need to have a bench as strong as your first 11. Those who start will then be based on form or tactics.
As long as we can fit them all into the squad, 25 player limit etc, the likes of Saliba, Saka, Martinelli can’t be U21 next season so some juggling with a couple of departures possibly?
Why is it whenever someone mentions Charlie Patino I immediately imagine his face photoshopped into a scene in Mean Streets or Goodfellas
“As far back as I remember, I always wanted to be a Gunner…”
“Charlie Patino was the kind of guy who rooted for the bad guy in movies…”
Have to say I’d prefer we went out and bought an absolute stonking back-up to Thomas, rather than Rice. I like the lad but ESR is home-grown and clearly has the talent. The gap behind Partey is a yawning one and way more vital to the ‘spine’ of the team.
I think Rice is the stonking backup to Partey
I really want to see him getting a run at the 9. Probably won’t happen now that we have so many options there but I feel like he has all the attributes.
I have a feeling that there will be a vital contribution from Smith-Rowe at some point during the running. A late winner from the bench in a scrappy game, or something. But he certainly has an important part play yet, I’d say.
I like the sound of this. Maybe a late winner against City!
He is one of our future base so he must be given some time to put things right then we also see how he is going to control getting injury and also how he is going to progress other wise he has a bright future in the game of football.
I absolutely love ESR, but I’ve got a feeling that his future lies away from the club.
We are so strong in those attacking midfield positions right now that it’s going to be very difficult for Smith-Rowe to break back into the team.
Selling ERS and replacing him with an out-and-out centre-forward like Ivan Toney would be a smart move in the summer.
He’s great and will improve, Arsenal lad too. Would be a bad decision not to keep him so we have depth in the squad given we will compete across more cups next season. And so we can keep doing the Saka and ESR chant.
He has his own set of unique skillsets over xhaka and vieira. Better goal poacher and ball carrier
It’s Eddie who i think is most likely to get the boot as since Gabriel Jesus has been out both Trossard and Martinelli have shown they can be very effective down the middle
And the free-scoring Flo is still to return….
Given Lacazette has also scored 17 goals in france this season i think we should be still be sceptical about Balogun
Balogun is playing in a much less impressive team though. And who knows how Laca is being used – glad for him he’s doing well
Next season we will be fighting to defend the Premier League and we will be fighting in the Champions League. We will need him for sure with all the injuries and games I am sure he will have a big impact next season. The key for him is to stay fit and get a good run of games under his belt.
Arteta obviously doesn’t do the out-and-out center forward thing.
Why the hell would we want Toney when we have Flo Bazookagun?
Isn’t the meltdown at Spuds hilarious?
Conte was never the right manager for spuds: the club have no ambition and a history of dismal failure; the Italian was a guy who was used to lifting trophies. It was a case of a serial winner managing a bunch of serial losers.
My guess now is that Spuds will appoint a mediocre boss and the chronic, trophy-less failure Will continue.
Plenty of morons to choose from. Time for Hoddle to return? That would be a laugh.
Maybe Neville can throw the dice a second time? See if he lasts longer than the week he had at Valencia before they realised.
Gary Neville and the tiny totts are a match made in heaven. And as a bonus he wouldn’t be punditting.
Imagine him not being able to big up Man U every other sentence. He wouldn’t be able to do it.
Press – “So Gary, how do you fancy Spuds chances now that you’ve been appointed?”
Neville – “I don’t know. Take Kane for example, I know he scores lots of goals but he’ll never get past Maguire. I reckon it’s United’s season to win this year.”
What’s Tony Pulis up to?
Looking at his career it’s the perfect qualification.
He has many years of experience in running a team of fouling Neanderthals and winning fuck all.
Would love to see Harry Redknapp come back for a laugh. But honestly no matter what manager they get they are always sh*t. You really have to be stupid to the the sp*rs job. Harry Kane will most likely leave too this summer.
Won’t have to force his way if shitty referees like the spunk that officiated Spain v Norway are allowed to officiate games.
He was a terrible referee. Two early Norway yellows for dissent, including one for Odegaard, who we all know is famous for his constant screaming at officials and general shithousery. I am not a lip-reader, but it looked like Odegaard said something really provocative like “hey, that was a foul.”
Having established his authority early, the ref then was free to call a dozen niggling fouls while ignoring the potential leg-breakers.
My conclusion: just like in England, once you get past the top two or three, French referees are also awful.
Wuth his range of passing , close ball control and eye for a goal , he is the kind of player Mikel wants ala Benjamin White.
Absolutely, but can he stay fit for long enough? I really hope so.
His minutes (66) as important as the goal.
I just have a hunch ESR will make a major contribution – most likely a goal that turns one point to three like Reiss Nelson – before the season ends.
Superb run into the box for that england goal, saw the space and made it an easy options for gibbs-white. The Croydon De Bruyne has an eye for goal and I can’t wait til he’s back up to speed
Get back in fella, the more (capable) the better.
Somewhat off topic I know, but can we just take a few minutes to laugh at Sp*rs. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣