‘He has huge potential’: Mikel Arteta talks up Arsenal youngster

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Mikel Arteta is backing Emile Smith Rowe to develop into a key player for Arsenal in the coming years.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a good run of form this season since having broken into the first team at The Emirates under Arteta.

Smith Rowe scored Arsenal’s opening goal in extra time during their 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at The Emirates in the FA Cup third round on Saturday night as he continued his good run of form.

The attacking midfielder has been part of the Arsenal set up since he was 10 years old and he has made eight first team appearances for the Gunners so far this season.

Arteta feels that Smith Rowe has what it takes to earn a regular spot in the first team at The Emirates as long as he continues to stay focused and work hard.

Speaking in an interview before the clash with Newcastle on Saturday, Arteta said of Smith Rowe when asked if he can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden: “He has huge potential.

“He really wants it and he has the personality when he goes on the field to express and play the way he can play.

“To do it in a consistent way is a different thing. The boys that you mentioned, they’ve done it. It’s true that they’re ahead in their development phase because they’ve played many more minutes and games in the last two seasons.

“But he is capable of doing that. Whether he’s going to do it will depend on how he continues to develop, how he takes the chance that he has in front of him and how much we can help him to achieve that.

“A lot of things have happened to him in the past year. ‘He needs to establish himself here, he needs to be successful here, he needs to really find his role and his position in the team and in the club.

“That will help him to have a clear path. We really believe in him. He needs to have no fear and go for it, because he has the quality.”

Arsenal will return to Premier League action on Thursday night when they welcome Crystal Palace to The Emirates as they bid to make it four wins in a row in the top flight.

The Gunners are currently in 11th place in the Premier League table.

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