Emile Smith Rowe has praised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for giving young players like himself and Bukayo Saka confidence as the pair look to improve their production in front of goal.
Smith Rowe (21) and Saka (20) were both on target against Andorra during the international break, the former with the Under-21s side and the latter with the senior squad.
Saka scored the second goal of a 5-0 rout on October 9, while Smith Rowe slotted home the only goal of the game two days later after Rhian Brewster’s sending-off had reduced the Young Lions to 10 men.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 11, 2021
The pair rank in the top four for both expected goals and expected assists across all competitions among Arsenal players to have played at least 300 minutes this season.
Smith Rowe largely credits Arteta for their development, with senior Gunners stars also taking the time to help them out.
“[Arteta] has spoken to us and given us so much confidence to stay calm,” said Smith Rowe.
“[Saka and I] know we’re going to be getting into these positions. Because we’re both young players we’ve got to stay as calm as possible and just focus on the goal really.
“We’ve been practising a lot in training, after training and we get the support from the experienced players in the team as well, they’re always helping us. It’s really good at Arsenal, we’re really happy with the help we’re getting.”
New England U21s head coach Lee Carsley had special praise for Smith Rowe, believing that the attacking midfielder – who has frequently played on the left for Arsenal – has the ability to score, create and beat his man.
“With any wide player they are always judged on goals and assists and Emile has got the ability to do both,” said Carsley.
“I’ve seen him in training, the way he finds the corners and finishes very calmly, he finishes like a centre forward at times and the opposite to that is that he has got that last pass which is really important.
“That’s why I’m keen on getting him in really attacking positions more often, the higher up we can get him and the more we can get him one-vs-one he’ll create a lot of problems like he does at Arsenal.”
The Gunners will hope both their young Hale End graduates can make a positive impact when Crystal Palace visit Emirates Stadium on October 18 as Premier League action resumes.
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