Premier League • England

Arsenal exclusive: Arteta comes to Emile Smith Rowe decision with boss’ verdict clear on ‘really special talent’

Mikel Arteta manager of Arsenal and Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal dejected during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool

Mikel Arteta and Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal

Mikel Arteta is ready to offer Emile Smith Rowe more opportunities in the Arsenal first team next season and is opposed to cashing in on the homegrown star, according to Charles Watts.

The homegrown favourite had to wait patiently for his chance at Arsenal, undergoing loans with both RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town before making his breakthrough. And while he first debuted for the club back in the 2018/19 season, it wasn’t until Arteta’s appointment that Smith Rowe became a regular.

Indeed, the three-times capped England star made 70 appearances in total across the 2020/21 and 2021/22 campaigns.

Becoming a huge fans’ favourite in the process, Smith Rowe illustrated his eye for goal by scoring a career-high 11 times in the season before last.

However, Smith Rowe found opportunities far harder to come by in the season just gone. With Arteta sticking by a largely settled side, Smith Rowe found himself kicking his heels on the sidelines.

As a result, he has since been linked with a move away from Arsenal with Aston Villa linked with a move for his services. More recently, however, it is West Ham who’ve been strongly linked, seeing Smith Rowe as a possible target as part of the Declan Rice deal.

While Arsenal and West Ham settled on a straight £105m fee for Rice, Smith Rowe still remains a player of interest for David Moyes.

However, Arteta has told the attacker he would like him to remain at Emirates Stadium.

Smith Rowe served a timely reminder of his talents with some excellent displays for the triumphant England U21s this summer.

And with Arsenal competing on four fronts in the upcoming season, Smith Rowe will land more chances to impress.

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Arsenal fully intend to give Emile Smith Rowe more chances

Explaining why Smith Rowe will stay, Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts insists Arteta still believes in his talents.

“He’s certainly not on the Arsenal scrapheap,” Watts told TEAMtalk. “Mikel Arteta has told him that he wants him to stay. I think going into the summer, I thought there was a good chance he could probably go… But by all accounts they want him to stay and are going to give him an opportunity, which I’m really happy with.

“We all kind of forget how good Emile Smith Rowe is and how good he was when he burst onto the scene. Injuries have obviously hampered him a lot but he’s got so much to give. He’s such a good player. He’s so smart, he’s technically excellent, he can finish. And he’s got everything you need to be successful in this Arsenal team.

“Just because he’s been out for such a long period of time, a lot of fans have kind of forgotten about that. And, you know, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Smith Rowe makes a big, big impact next season. He just needs chances.

“I think one of the big errors that Arteta made last season was the way he rotated his squad. There were a lot of opportunities, especially in the second half of last season, when Smith Rowe was fit. He had the opportunities to get him some minutes and start putting pressure on those in front of him in the first team. But he just didn’t do it. He just didn’t bring him off the bench and didn’t give him the game time he needed.

“So I just hope that this season is different and he does give him some minutes to try and impress because he’s a hell of a talent. I think a lot of people have forgotten just how good he is. I think he’s really special.”

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