Arsenal legend Ian Wright has lauded current star Emile Smith Rowe for his emergence into a top-quality player.
The attacking midfielder came through Arsenal’s academy before making his senior debut in September 2018. He then went on loan spells at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town in a bid to gain more experience.
Smith Rowe returned to the Emirates in August last year as a more mature and well-rounded star. He has since made his mark on the side with 12 goals in 58 appearances.
That includes strikes in three consecutive Premier League matches, form which has seen the 21-year-old earn his first senior England call-up.
Smith Rowe could make his debut in the Three Lions’ World Cup qualifier against Albania on Friday. If he misses that game then the playmaker is likely to feature against minnows San Marino three days later.
While appearing on The Ringer podcast, Wright was asked about Smith Rowe. He pointed out the player’s down-to-earth nature, despite his sudden rise to fame.
“We have to talk about Emile Smith Rowe and his emergence,” the former striker said (via HITC). “He’s in the England squad now.
“Smith Rowe, I think, he’s someone who I speak to, even last season before he blasted in. All he spoke about was being consistent and scoring more goals. And now, he’s actually doing it.
“What I’m over the moon with is that he got this massive contract a lot of money and it’s not phased him one bit, that is a fantastic sign. People don’t realise that. With some players there’s a drop off because there’s a comfort and they can have anything. Something softens along the line, but there’s been nothing like that with him or with Saka.”
Smith Rowe is expected to feature in Arsenal’s first game back after the international break. They play Liverpool in a huge clash on Saturday November 20.
Arsenal starlet ‘needs testing’, says U21 boss
Meanwhile, England U21 manager Lee Carsley reckons Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun needs a loan move.
The forward has only made two Premier League appearances so far this campaign. Most of his time has been spent with the Gunners’ reserve team.
Carsley said: “You need testing. Watching him in the Under 23s for Arsenal, it’s probably a little bit too easy for him and he’s passed that level.
“I imagine he wants to play for Arsenal and pushing for a position. But it’s such a big club with a lot of competition.”