Friday, June 21, 2024

“Don’t look back” – Arteta tells Smith Rowe to use tough times to improve

Mikel Arteta says Emile Smith Rowe must use the highs and lows of the last three years to become an even better player.

The midfielder was handed a rare opportunity to start on Wednesday night and made an impressive impact, playing a part in both of the Gunners’ goals against Luton.

Afterwards, the 23-year-old admitted he had found his lack of game time this season “really tough”, especially as he also missed a huge chunk of the last campaign after undergoing groin surgery.

Smith Rowe’s difficulties in the last couple of years have starkly contrasted with how he burst onto the scene. Indeed, had he not made such an impact in the second half of the 20/21 campaign, Arteta’s Arsenal project may never have taken off.

On Friday, Arteta was asked if he still sees his number 10 as a big part of the club’s future. He replied: “I look at him and what happened over the last two seasons especially, but what happened three seasons [ago] as well, [and say] take all that.

“It’s the best thing that could have happened for him in his career; if you use it the right way now.

“Don’t look back and say, ‘If, if.’ No, this happened, use it. That was the best thing that could have happened. I had great moments, I had difficult moments. Now I know what I want, how to deal with that. That’s going to make me a much better player.

“And you could see the hell of a player that we have in him when he’s fit and he’s playing at that level.”

In all likelihood, Smith Rowe will return to the bench when the Gunners face Brighton on Saturday but with so much football coming up in the space of the next six weeks, he has to be ready to perform when called upon.

Arteta held up Reiss Nelson as an example with the boss impressed by the winger’s showing in midweek having been totally out of the squad for the 0-0 at Manchester City.

“I think a good example is Reiss. The previous game he was not in the squad and the next game he’s ready to start. And if someone doesn’t react the way he did after, you’re not ready to perform. So I’m really pleased with that kind of reaction in the team and Emile, I think he was really, really strong in the game.”

In recent weeks, the Gunners have been boosted by the return of several other players from injury. Like Smith Rowe, Thomas Partey earned a rare start against Luton and proved he’s edging back to a point where he can challenge Jorginho for more game time.

After the game, the Ghana international said he was aware of speculation linking him with a move away from the club but that he’s focused on Arsenal.

“He better have his head here because we are playing for big things,” joked Arteta. “That’s what we expect and we need him because he’s a top player, a very important player for us and you can see on the pitch as well the impact that he can have for us.”

Arteta was then pressed on whether the club plan to keep Partey whose current contract has another year to run. It wasn’t a conversation the manager was willing to have.

“Our player has one more year contract and I’m really happy with him,” said the boss.

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We spent years waiting for rvp to come through his injuries and false starts. And then he didn’t waste a moment

Johnny 4 Hats

Didn’t waste a moment jumping ship. The absolute prick.

No one broke my heart like RVP. Not Cesc, not Henry, not Sanchez or Nasri.

I loved that man with all my heart and he threw it back in my face.

I hope he gets a little shard of food stuck in between his teeth and spends the rest of his life unsuccessfully tonguing it.

Santi’s Phonebox

The shard of food, the absolute worst thing to happen to you. Drives you slowly mad over a long period of time. Chapeau.


Yea RVP really hurt, however for me, I’m still not over Ashley Cole. I loved him and to see his best trophy ladened years at those twats across town made it even more unbearable. At least RVP only had one season. Ashley had about 10

Finsbury Park Gooner

I will be properly heartbroken if ESR is moved on this summer


Emile, don’t look back in anger, I heard you say…


Mate! we don’t want to get such Manchestery things in his head. Rather, Emile –

“it looks like we might have made it! Yes, it looks like we’ve made it to the end…”

Ben Swain

Obviously want the best for his career but really really hope ESRs future is at Arsenal. Such a good player to watch and I firmly believe he’s not in the camp of player’s this team has outgrown. If he stays fit he can be an integral part of it for years, and he offers qualities that I’d say nobody else in the squad currently does

Eric Blair

A few weeks ago he looked done at Arsenal, but there seems to be a chink of light there for him now. Would love him to stay and make it with us.


He’s far too good to let go so hope he stays. He may not be a regular starter but with the amount of matches we play he should have plenty of game time

djourou's nutmeg

i hope not to come across as an attention seeker if i anonymously say i don’t have many friends and a practically non existent family. and as you sadly find out when you grow up, there aren’t many respectable figures or idols left in this world. so one of the very few options left to pick values from and see some kind of direction in my life come from my dear arsenal, with wenger’s figure ever present. after listening or reading mikel’s words, always very in line with the club’s philosophy, i can’t help but feel grateful to be part… Read more »

Santi’s Phonebox

There’s a lot to learn from this version of Arteta’s Arsenal. Having started following the club in 2006, learning about its history, it’s values, former players and managers, you tubing all the Man U v Ars games from the 90’s, you get a sense of the club and its values. It’s been a very positive distraction in my life and created a whole other family for me as well. The absolute best gift Arteta has given the club is uniting the supporters, players and club into one family. Long may it continue. Up the Gunners!

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

Very well said


I think Havertz’ performances at CF make it even more likely ESR will stay, he looks a more natural fit in the left 8 position. With Rice switching between 8 and 6 depending on the match, and Trossard really more of a forward, ESR’s only consistent competition in that position will be Fabio Vieira.

A Different George

Like almost everyone here, I really like Smith Rowe as a player. I saw enough of him before his injuries that I was convinced he would be a top player–a large enough sample so it seemed obvious it wasn’t just a couple of brilliant moments or even very good games, but a talent that seemed, at the time, as certain as Bukayo Saka. Given that (and I think a lot of people will disagree), I think his recent stagnation has been due to something more than injuries. I feel confident that if it were Saka, or Ødegaard, or Ben White… Read more »


We have such a mentality mentor in Mikel. We should be so grateful while we have him because after his tenure we will all be talking about how Mikel improved players individually. And then improved the tactics/principles of play at the same time.

He is doing really really well and Mikel himself is improving everyday too.

The future is bright as long as Mikel stays

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