Emile Smith Rowe turned down Chelsea, Tottenham and Barcelona a couple of years ago to stick with Arsenal, and he’s reaping the rewards of that decision.
The Telegraph write that as Smith Rowe closed in on his 16th birthday, he received a number of offers from top European clubs, including the three mentioned above. The young attacking midfielder decided to turn them all down to stay at Arsenal, as he was “intent on living out his dream of one day playing and scoring for the first team”.
Last week Smith Rowe achieved that goal, scoring against Qarabag in the Europa League.
“I feel delighted,” he said afterwards. “Obviously it is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, scoring my first goal for the club. I scored in pre-season but last night it felt so different and I am just so happy.
“I am really enjoying it. I was enjoying it before but I am getting chances and I am so grateful that the gaffer has got faith in me. I just want to keep improving and keep getting minutes.”
The 18-year-old clearly made the right decision, when you look at the way clubs like Chelsea treat their youth stars. Callum Hudson-Odoi has shown more than enough to deserve a chance to appear in the squad, at least, but Maurizio Sarri just leaves him at home for the Europa League matches.
Smith Rowe is clearly someone who lives football, even admitting that when he’s chilling at home he looks up video clips of players he can learn from. As the Telegraph point out, that’s likely to go down well with Emery, after everything we’ve heard about his near obsession with video analysis.
For now, Smith Rowe will head off with the England u19s for the first time. His recent performances have earned him a first chance in the higher age group. The young Arsenal star will be part of the squad to face Portugal on 11th October and Macedonia on 16th October.