As Arsenal prepare to give Emile Smith Rowe his first taste of League Cup action, let’s look back at what he told the media after his Europa League debut last week.
Smith Rowe’s debut was obviously a special moment for him, coming in Arsenal’s 4-2 victory over FC Vorskla. He told Arsenal media he’d be giving his first shirt to his mum, and couldn’t hide the grin on his face.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 20, 2018
Speaking to the Islington Gazette afterwards, Smith Rowe admitted the last couple of months have all been a bit of a whirlwind for him.
“I was playing at Bishop Auckland last season and now I’m in the Europa League,” he said. “It’s crazy. Playing in the FA Youth Cup to six months later making my first team debut playing with players I wouldn’t have dreamed of.
“My social media has gone crazy. Everyone’s just so happy for me. I’ve been getting messages from old school friends I haven’t seen in about five years. To get this type of feedback with all my mates texting me is just crazy.
“But my parents have said to me keep my feet on the ground, stay focused and don’t let it get to you.”
Smith Rowe has burst up from the u18s to the first team so quickly that many Arsenal fans may never have seen him play prior to his pre-season appearances. Thankfully, for those who are only just discovering the young star, he summed up what his game is all about:
“My strengths are linking up with other players running on and off the ball. I like scoring goals but I also like creating goals for others. It’s so important for the team. I just like being a team player. I don’t like doing it for myself, I like playing for the team. I’m a team player.”
Signing off the Islington Gazette interview, Smith Rowe displayed his humble side, confirming his targets for the season are still just to play as many academy matches as possible.
“For me my targets are to play as many U23s and U21 matches as I can to get as much as experience as possible,” he said. “One day I hope to make my Premier League debut this season and games like this [Europa League match] can help to progress into the first team. But for me now it’s back to the Checkatrade and the U21s.”
From the looks of things, the midfielder might get more chances in the first-team this year than he thinks, starting tonight against Brentford.