Mikel Arteta has praised Emile Smith Rowe following his performances in recent weeks and has discussed why he really likes the Arsenal youngster.
Smith Rowe was injured earlier in the campaign and has had to be patient for his opportunity in the Premier League, but starred on his first league appearance of the season as the Gunners beat Chelsea on Boxing Day, before impressing once more as Arsenal secured a second successive victory at Brighton.
Those wins eased some of the pressure on Arteta following the north London side’s disastrous start to the season, with Smith Rowe amongst the catalysts for their improvement in an exciting attacking trio alongside fellow youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.
Arteta has now lavished praise on the 20-year-old midfielder and admits he has admired the academy graduate for some time, hailing the intelligent movement and work rate that Smith Rowe has brought to the side.
“He is a player that I really liked since the first day I watched him. Just the way he moves, how intelligent he is with the positions he takes and his work rate – don’t underestimate that,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference.
“He works really hard for the team and he had a really bad injury this year and hasn’t really trained with us at all.
“For the last two weeks he has been much more involved and you can see what he can bring to the team. I am delighted to have a young player with his talent and in that position. It was something that we needed.”
Arsenal face a struggling West Brom side on Saturday evening as they look to make it three successive victories in the league for the first time this season.