Arsenal have signed Emile Smith Rowe to his first professional contract, having graduated from the Hale End academy.
The teenager joined the club at aged 10 after being watched by an Arsenal scout while playing for a Sunday side. Rowe was eventually invited to a trial and signed for the Gunners weeks later.
He can operate on either flank and was representing the reverse side at aged 16. Rowe has also played for England at youth level and could have a bright career ahead of him if he can continue to develop.
Arsenal have had their fingers burned with their last big attempt at blooding through home grown players, with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson all flattering to deceive.
But the academy continues to be an important pathway to the reverse side where players look to impress to be called up to the first-team. Many don’t make the ground but Rowe is a bright talent.
Described as “pacey and with an eye for goal”, Arsenal.com said of Rowe: “We’d like to congratulate Emile on his first professional contract and look forward to his continued progress in the year ahead.”
He could be lighting up the Emirates Stadium in years to come.