Emile Smith Rowe has spoken about the importance of the supporters in his career so far, making his Europa League and League Cup debuts in the last week or so.

Speaking to Arsenal.com Smith Rowe admitted that he still gets nervy before matches, as that’s just the kind of player and person he is. However, the fans play a big part in helping him through those nerves, to put in his best performances.

“I still always get nervous before any match, whether it’s an under-18s, 23s or first-team game,” he revealed. “But that’s where the fans come in because they’ve always encouraged me.

“I can remember freezing-cold January games at Borehamwood where you’d think that nobody could possibly be watching, but then you’d walk out for the under-23s and you’d see a couple of hundred fans there to cheer you on – it’s incredible and it makes you want to perform for them.

“I felt that same when I got off the bench to make my Europa League debut against Vorskla. The reception I believed was unbelievable! I felt like I belonged and I wanted to repay that and create something for them and for the team too.

“My first few touches were good and with the fans behind me, I felt so confident. I appreciate all of the support they’ve given me over the past few years and I just feel indebted to them really.”

From the sounds of things it’s not just Smith Rowe himself that knows the importance of the supporters. The midfielder recalled that after the Vorskla game his dad convinced him to ‘give back’ to the fans.

“I actually remember driving home with my dad in the passenger seat after the game and there were loads of fans lined up along the side of the road waiting for pictures and autographs,” he said. “My dad told me to pull over because I had a duty to give back.

“I signed autographs, took pictures and thanked as many fans as I could. I don’t think fans fully realise just how much they can help players perform, and I wanted to show how much I appreciated all that they have done to support me over the years.

“After all, I know what it’s like to be an Arsenal fan. I’ve supported the club my whole life.”

Smith Rowe’s first start, against Brentford, was an exciting one. He got into fantastic positions all game, with runs that tested the opposition defence, and just didn’t quite manage to find the right final ball. As soon as he gets himself a goal or assist, I’m sure the confidence to get more will follow.

For now, the Arsenal u23s have a game against Leicester, who are level on points with Everton, the Gunners and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League 2. Hopefully Smith Rowe can take advantage of his first-team experiences to help the academy side breeze through the match.