Chelsea youngster and Swansea City loanee Conor Gallagher says Emile Smith Rowe is one of the best players he’s ever come up against.
Speaking to the Swansea City website, Gallagher named Smith Rowe as one of his toughest opponents. The 20-year-old is starting to make his breakthrough in senior football this season, making 26 appearances for Charlton before joining Swansea in January.
Gallagher’s 36 total Championship appearances have given him plenty of chances to play against senior pros. Yet a youth game against Arsenal and Smith Rowe still sticks out in his memory.
“The best player I’ve ever played against is another really tough question,” Gallagher admitted.
“In terms of reputation, it would be Wayne Rooney. But I remember in the FA Youth Cup u18s, Emile Smith Rowe gave me a runaround. So that’s a game that sticks out to me.”
It’s not exactly a surprise to hear. Smith Rowe was Arsenal’s best player by a margin in the Youth Cup final, and the only thing keeping them competitive.
The Gunners were winning 1-0 – thanks to a goal Smith Rowe set up – when the midfielder came off in the 62nd minute. The coach was clearly thinking about the final second leg, just a few days later.
However, removing his team’s best player was a huge gamble and totally backfired. Arsenal lost their way without Smith Rowe and ended up 3-1 losers. The young playmaker, currently on loan at Huddersfield, clearly made an impression all the same.