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Mikel Arteta on the leading voice behind Emile Smith Rowe securing Arsenal’s no.10 jersey
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has provided an insight into the process which ultimately culminated in Emile Smith Rowe securing the no.10 jersey at the Emirates.
The headlines news on the red half of North London this week of course surrounded one of the club’s standout up-and-coming talents – Emile Smith Rowe.
Midfielder Smith Rowe enjoyed a breakout campaign in the English capital in 2020/21, after finally being handed the chance to impress on a consistent basis late last year.
Amid something of a creative crisis on the part of Mikel Arteta’s men, the 20-year-old was tasked with adding some much-needed guile to the Gunners’ attacking ranks.
And ESR went on to manage exactly that, on his way to two goals and four assists in 20 Premier League appearances over the 2nd half of the campaign.
In turn, it did not come as a huge surprise when Arsenal opted to reward their latest standout Hale End product with the offer of a new contract earlier this summer.
And, on Thursday, Smith Rowe committed to the terms laid down, penning a ‘long-term’ deal with his boyhood club.
🏡 Where he belongs…@emilesmithrowe is here to stay 🔏
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 22, 2021
The midfielder committing his future to Arsenal, though, did not mark the only headline Smith Rowe news to come to the fore this week.
The other came in the form of the new jersey number handed to the English youth international at the Emirates.
Alongside their announcement regarding his contract, Arsenal confirmed that ESR had been honoured with the club’s iconic 10 shirt – previously donned by the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Mesut Ozil.
Such a notable weight being placed on the young shoulders of the 20-year-old resulted in immediate chatter surrounding whether the decision would prove to be the correct one, at such a delicate point in Smith Rowe’s fledgling career.
As confirmed by Mikel Arteta on Saturday, though, one individual fully convinced that the Gunners starlet possesses the abilities needed to succeed with 10 emblazoned across his back is none other than Smith Rowe himself:
‘He asked for [the No.10 shirt], so that shows you the ambition and desire,’ Arteta explained to Arsenal Media.
‘I prefer players who ask for more than maybe they can take but if they believe they can do it, do not put a limit on it. When he asked me and asked the club that he would like to get that, [I said] okay.’
Moving onto the subject of the youngster’s new deal, the Arsenal boss added:
‘I think he totally deserves that new contract, he has earned every right to be in the position where the club had to think about rewarding what he has done and he has shown his commitment to the football club.’
‘So when that relationship builds in the way that it is getting, that is a really strong and powerful message for everybody. We want and I want hungry, talented [players] who play with huge desire and Emile fits all of that.’