Arsenal: Arteta believes team have 'taken handbrake off'
Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is “not a skillful player” and is “not quite there yet”, according to former England stars Owen Hargreaves and Paul Ince. Smith Rowe has put in a string of impressive performances in the last week for the Gunners. The 20-year-old made his first Premier League appearance of the season on Boxing Day, helping Mikel Arteta’s side end a run of seven matches without a league win with a 3-1 victory over Chelsea.
Smith Rowe was rewarded with starts against Brighton and West Brom, as Arsenal made it three league wins in a row for the first time this season.
The academy graduate has contributed two assists in those three matches and earned rave reviews from Arteta and supporters.
Hargreaves is a fan of Smith Rowe but says there are limitations to his game.
“I think Smith Rowe’s good,” Hargreaves told Premier League Productions.
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“He’s smart to the fact that he plays quick, he doesn’t take too many touches because he’s not a really skillful, flair player. He gets it to [the other players] quickly.”
Meanwhile, Ince says he is not sure if Smith Rowe is completely ready to be playing regular first-team football for the Gunners.
“I’m not sure whether Smith Rowe’s quite there yet,” Ince responded.
“He went out on loan before to Huddersfield. But it’s a learning curve for him.”
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Smith Rowe missed the first two months of this season due to injury.
However, he impressed in his three outings in the Europa League, scoring one goal and assisting two others.
Arteta says he has always been a fan of Smith Rowe and is delighted at his emergence since Christmas.
“He is a player that I really liked since the first day I watched him,” said Arteta.
“Just the way he moves, how intelligent he is with the positions he takes and his work rate – don’t underestimate that.
“He works really hard for the team and he had a really bad injury this year and hasn’t really trained with us at all.”
“For the last two weeks he has been much more involved and you can see what he can bring to the team.
“I am delighted to have a young player with his talent and in that position. It was something that we needed.”
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