Emile Smith Rowe has shaken off his injury problems and he’s impressing with the u23s, despite being overlooked by Unai Emery.
After initially appearing to make a good impression on Unai Emery last season, Smith Rowe dropped out of the team due to his injury problems. He went on loan to RB Leipzig but struggled to get fit, and started 2019/20 with the u23s to recover his match sharpness.
With the academy side, Smith Rowe has two goals and two assists in seven appearances this season. More than that, he’s been influential in almost every game in which he’s featured.
The way the midfielder passes and moves instantly picks up the pace of the game. His forward runs into space give teammates an option to play forward whilst also drawing defenders away from them. He also knows how to finish when given the chance:
With Dani Ceballos still injured, Granit Xhaka’s situation dragging on and a busy fixture list, it’s strange that Smith Rowe isn’t involved with the first team. It’s even more bizarre that he hasn’t played a single minute centrally for the senior side this season.
In his rare appearances under Unai Emery this campaign, against Frankfurt, Vitoria and Nottingham Forest, Smith Rowe has solely been deployed out wide. Even worse, he’s mostly been on the right, his weaker side.
The 19-year-old can do a job on the left if necessary, cutting in onto his right foot. There’s no doubt he’s at his best in the middle though. To not even give him a chance there is a waste of his talent.
Perhaps Smith Rowe’s current absence is related to the pressure on Emery’s position. The head coach could be hesitant to give young players a chance when he desperately needs wins. Whatever the case may be, the sooner he’s back involved again, the better.