Freddie Ljungberg has called Emile Smith Rowe a role model for others in the Arsenal academy, praising the midfielder’s attitude and application on the pitch.
Smith Rowe impressed again this week for the academy, scoring the first of Arsenal’s three goals in their debut Checkatrade Trophy win over Coventry (for highlights from the match, see the bottom of this article).
Ljungberg is clearly impressed with what he’s seen from the 18-year-old, both in matches and around the training ground.
“Unai has seen a lot, he knows,” Ljungberg said (via Islington Gazette). “Emile has a great career in front of him. His presence and the way he behaves, for me he’s a role model for everyone at our club.
“The respect he shows people and then on the pitch he plays so well. If any young players want to look at how I think a player should behave they should look at him. With all the success he has got he is still as humble as he was before.”
Eddie Nketiah also made a good impression on the travelling Arsenal fans, as he almost always does, finding a goal not long after coming off the bench.
“We rested him [against Coventry] for a bit because he’d played with England but still he did well,” Ljungberg said. “Eddie came on in the last 20-30 minutes and did great. It’s nice to be able to give the responsibility to a much younger player and still he does a lot.”
As for whether the young striker will feature in Arsenal’s first Europa League match of the campaign next week, Ljungberg insisted that’s not his decision.
“That’s up to the first team manager. Eddie works hard and plays well. It’s only himself who will decide how far he goes. If he keeps the work ethic and scores goals, who knows?”
Highlights: Coventry City 0-3 Arsenal u21s
For those who couldn’t attend the match, here are the three goals the team scored on the night.
Here are the highlights from Arsenal u21s’ 3-0 win over Coventry.
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) September 14, 2018
It’s great to see Arsenal attackers harrying opposition defenders and forcing mistakes, as that’s seemingly part of the philosophy Unai Emery wants to bring to the club.
I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Willock involved in the upcoming Europa League and League Cup squads. We’ll see if they make the most of the opportunities when they come.