Former Gunner Bacary Sagna has hailed Emile Smith Rowe for validating an Arsenal call he feared would backfire, while Joe Cole claimed Mikel Arteta now has £100m-plus worth of talent in just two players.
Smith Rowe is quickly becoming Arsenal’s go-to man in the final third. Despite being just 21, the vibrant playmaker has already shown he can pull the strings and make a big impact at elite level.
Indeed, he has plundered five goals and two assists across all competitions this season. That stellar form saw him earn his first call-up to the England senior side last week.
Smith Rowe made his debut versus Albania before quickly notching his first goal in the international arena against San Marino three days later.
He is already justifying Arsenal’s decision to hand him their iconic Number 10 shirt in pre-season. After committing his future to the club until 2026, Smith Rowe was handed the shirt previously worn by the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Robin van Persie and Mesut Ozil.
Now, via the Sun, former Gunner Bacary Sagna was happy to admit his fears about handing Smith Rowe the prestigious 10 shirt were misplaced.
“He’s been amazing. He’s been impressing me a lot,” said Sagna.
“Initially I wasn’t sure about Arsenal giving him the No10, I thought it was a bit early, but he’s mature for his age and shown he deserves it.
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“Sometimes when you have players wearing the No10, they think they’ve made it already and I was worried about him having too much pressure, and how he would deal with it.
“Playing for Arsenal isn’t easy and with his responsibilities now for the national team, it could be a lot. But he’s been brilliant for the club, in all aspects of the game, he doesn’t hide on the pitch.”
Arsenal will be hoping Smith Rowe becomes the cornerstone of their attack over the next decade. That will likely mean batting off bids from richer rivals in the future. And according to Joe Cole, the 21-year-old is already one of Arsenal’s most valuable assets.
Arsenal pair worth “at least £100m”
Via the Sun, former Chelsea attacker Cole was also effusive in his praise for Smith Rowe.
In doing so, he claimed both he and Bukayo Saka combined are already worth “at least £100m”
“Smith Rowe, he is holding Arsenal together,” said Cole.
“What is 21 or 22? He’s the man they look to, him and Saka.
“Young players are a commodity now. At Arsenal now, Saka and Smith Rowe, that must be at least £100 million worth of players.”