Sunday, July 14, 2024

“I believe in myself now” – Smith Rowe reveals battle with self doubt

Emile Smith Rowe says he’s been wrestling with self doubt during his prolonged spell on the sidelines but he says he’s now in a good place having returned to full fitness.

Having struggled with a long-term groin issue, the England international took the difficult decision to undergo surgery this time last year and had been hoping to make a big impact in the second half of the season

While his road to recovery was initially on track – he featured as a substitute in January’s FA Cup 3rd Round win over Oxford United – a couple of setbacks subsequently led to a loss of confidence and he struggled to get back in the team.

Last night against Brentford, he made his first start for the club in 499 days; an 82-minute appearance that marked his 100th for the club. He looked lively too, going close to a goal in the first half as the Gunners secured their place in the next round thanks to a one-nil win.

After the game, Smith Rowe reflected on his return and the difficulties he overcame.

“I have changed my mentality a bit: just to go for it,” he told reporters. “I have not really got anything to lose.

“I have tried to change that inside me. I used to have a lot of doubts. I used to question my confidence at times. But now I am really strong, I am feeling really fit and I am taking that into now.

“I really believe in myself now. I have got all the right people around me helping me — my family, my friends and everyone at the club is always willing to help every day in training and off the pitch. I have just got to keep going, keep believing, and I am sure the chances will come.

“It was a really tough period — having surgery for the first time and then having another setback once I got back on to the pitch. But this is football, you have got to face these challenges, you have ups and downs. I feel like I am a lot stronger and fitter now.”

Smith Rowe’s next challenge is to push for more game time in the Premier League. A regular two seasons ago, he’s had to feed off scraps for six months at a time when Mikel Arteta’s side have been flying.

He also faces stiffer competition for places with captain Martin Odegaard preferred as the key creative outlet and the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz offering options on the left side of midfield and the left flank.

“Being at a massive club like Arsenal, we know there is so much competition,” he said.

“It is always going to be challenging, it is always going to be difficult to cement your place in the team. I have just got to keep believing in myself.

“Coming back and not quite getting back into the team, I have had to stay strong in my head and try to stay as positive as I can.

“I think the gaffer has really helped me with that. He was helping me through my injury and often pulled me for chats about how I can be mentally stronger, stuff like that.”

Given Arsenal are facing a bit of an injury crisis just as matches start to stack up, Smith Rowe has a real opportunity to prove he can be at his best for the team. Here’s hoping he takes it.

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
justin powis

The future legend

Funsho Patrick

We believe in you KEV😉

Big L HoP



I love this lad.


I think Arteta is flirting with the idea of fielding a classic 4-3-3 some day in the future. (Like Barcelaona under Guardiola with Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets in the middle). I think the missing piece today is the left sided creative player. Vieira seems to be stepping up this year – but his natural position would be on the right (plus physicality remain an issue), Havertz is a question mark (or a work in progress – if you are the optimist one), and ESR is coming back from injury… I think if Smith Rowe stays fit he’s got a good… Read more »

Bahadır Batuhan

Totally agree; I think he needs to make himself available during the build up as well.


Actually thought Vieira has had his best performances for us so far on the left when subbing in for Martinelli, he tends to drift further inside and end up as some sort of hybrid of left 8 and left winger, his left footed crossing from there is deadly and he can drift in and find through balls as he can pass pretty well with both feet. ESR on the other hand is a very different player, but somehow also most effective in very similar areas of the pitch. They both feel like such dangerous players on the edge of the… Read more »


A fit and firing ESR is a total game changer for us. As Arteta suggested at the beginning of the season, there will be plenty of opportunities for him.


Agreed, he’s such a good dribbler and can score as well, which is what we’re lacking currently.

Jonas Hallberg

Love him so much ❤️


Such a wonderful player. Has the potential to really be an Arsenal legend

A Different George

I thought he took a bit of time to get into the match yesterday, then looked great for the rest of the first half. Obviously tiring in the second, but lots of hopeful signs. I think that, like Trossard and Tomiyasu, he will be used at more than one “position” (if that word even describes very much anymore). Pretty clearly, Odegaard is (and should be) the first choice in the role Smith Rowe played yesterday. But (1) Odegaard won’t play every game; (2) Smith Rowe gives you different–more “vertical”–movements than typical Odegaard; and (3) as I said, the flexibility and… Read more »

Dr. Gooner

I agree, that verticality from ESR is so, so important from deeper central positions. It gives the team a new attacking dimension. It’s something our midfield has really lacked so far this season. I’m still convinced that the ultimate evolution of this team will involve either him or Saka in that right half space. They are powerful runners and ball carriers who can score or assist off either foot, and that’s a profile we need centrally. I see Odegaard moving further back into a more buildup and creative oriented role on the left hand side. Right now he’s functioning as… Read more »


To add to this: ESR has a deeper starting position when in possession than Havertz. With Rice still adapting to being the fulcrum, and the most ball playing fullbacks both struggling with injuries, ESR’s connectivity is key to build through the middle. Havertz seems to want to stay high and make runs beyond the back line. He also offers a more direct route, but idk how dependable that is for us.

Dr. Gooner

I’ve been there man.

This type of thing is SO underrated, but I can’t overemphasize the impact:

“I think the gaffer has really helped me with that. He was helping me through my injury and often pulled me for chats about how I can be mentally stronger, stuff like that.”

To have the boss show he cares about you and wants you to succeed… that makes such a difference in any line of work.


It does make a difference, and i really hope this is a similar situation to when Arteta didn’t play Martinelli too much too soon. ESR could be an all time great for us.


Hopefully this puts to bed the silly narrative that Arteta doesn’t like ESR. Similar to the Martinelli situation the other year, no one is saying that anymore.


Love it.

I don’t see this lightly: I think ESR has as high a ceiling as anyone else in this squad. Has the qualities to be unplayable.


Love ESR when he was at his peak before injury, but am I the only one who was a little disappointed yesterday? It’s not all down to him, but its not like there was much creative spark or chance creation v. Brentford. Defensively we were resolute, if a bit desperate in the 2nd half. But up front it was pretty stale, despite all the 1st half possession. For Smith Rowe, it was just that one shot that was well saved where we had a glimpse of the football he’s capable of playing.


I think you need to give it some time and not expect miracles straightaway, after 499 days!


Ramsdale did make two great saves but his ball distribution was average at best. He reaked indecisiveness and low confidence with the ball and i fear the benching may have punched a hole in his ego and self belief. Hope he gets a run of games to restore his mojo otherwise the competition between the sticks could only serve to stunt his meteoric rise of the last two seasons. Our defence was exceptional and Tomi’s most effective position seems to be RCB. Our mid just about managed to do the job while the attack looked stymied by mistrust for the… Read more »


If the £65 million spent on Havertz propels ESR to reach his full potential then it’s money well spent.
This lad could hit the very top level.

Var will solve the problem

That’s how I look at Pepe investment. Allowed Saka to thrive and making the right wing his own. Basically we paid 72 million for Saka and still a bargain


The most important thing to believe in! Get in there! Be a game changer! Be a match winner! Get in there ESR!

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x