Unai Emery impressed by Smith Rowe’s performances for Arsenal
Arsenal youngster shone in penalty shoot-out defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery admits teenager Emile Smith Rowe has caught his eye in recent weeks.
The England youth international scored Arsenal’s equaliser in a 1-1 friendly draw against Atletico Madrid in Singapore on Thursday – with the LaLiga side going on to win the resulting penalty shoot-out 3-1.
Smith Rowe, 17, could make the step up into the first-team picture at the Emirates Stadium in the forthcoming season and Emery, who replaced Arsene Wenger in May, has been impressed by what he has seen from the youngster so far.
“Today I am very happy with his work on the pitch, but not only today,” Emery said of Smith Rowe after the International Champions Cup game.
“It’s every day. He’s starting today’s match because his performances have been good in every training session.
“He is 17 years old but he has grown up in the academy and we need to give the young players the opportunity to work with us every day and play matches like today. They are working hard in training to be involved with the first team.”
Having played a part in the 8-0 win at Boreham Wood last weekend, Smith Rowe took his place in a fairly-experienced Arsenal side, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all starting.
Disappointing not to get the result we deserved tonight, but on a personal note it was a dream come true to get the opportunity to make my senior debut!⚽️Thank you for all the messages!❤️ @Arsenal #COYG— Emile Smith Rowe (@emilesmithrowe_) July 26, 2018
But it was Atletico, who beat Arsenal in last season’s Europa League semi-final en route to lifting the trophy, whose young side took the lead when Luciano Vietto headed them in front.
Smith Rowe equalised with a well-taken solo strike to leave Emery happy with his side’s overall display – even if they failed from the spot in the penalty shoot-out.
“I think this is the moment for the young players to show quality like Emile did,” he added.
“Historically, Arsenal have worked with young players to give them the chance to work with the first team, for them to show their quality in each match.
“Today I think that every player played well in this game, against a big team. For Smith Rowe to score is very good for him and the team. What’s important for us is that every young player is working very hard.”
Next up for Arsenal is another International Champions Cup game in Singapore on Saturday, this time against Emery’s former club Paris St Germain.