Emile Smith Rowe revealed Kevin De Bruyne is his footballing idol, after the 17-year-old starred in Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final win over Colchester United.

Smith Rowe broke the deadlock twice in Colchester on Tuesday night. First he opened the scoring in the 41st minute after a clever run and one-two with Bukayo Saka. He finished the chance confidently to send Arsenal’s u18s into the dressing room 1-0 up at half-time.

In the second period, the hosts equalised from the penalty spot, before Smith Rowe scored a perfect free-kick, firing into the top corner. After the match he revealed which player he looks to for inspiration in senior football.

“I think in the Premier League, probably De Bruyne,” he said. “He doesn’t really score the free-kicks, but I think his crossing from wide is really good. I look up to him quite a lot.”

It’s hard to argue with De Bruyne as a role model based on this season.

The Belgian has 11 goals and 19 assists in all competitions this campaign.

More than that, he has a fantastic work rate, carries the ball well and contributes defensively when necessary. As a result he can play almost anywhere in the midfield.

Plus, despite what Smith Rowe says about De Bruyne not really scoring free-kicks, the 26-year-old still has two goals from set pieces this season.

If Smith Rowe can incorporate any of that into his game, it’ll really help him push on. It looks like he already has the free-kicks and goal contributions down, and hopefully that’ll help the young Arsenal side in their cup semi-final against Blackpool.

Good luck to them!

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.