Emile Smith Rowe has spent most of his time since recovering from injury on the bench with many speculating that he is struggling to get back in to the starting lineup but, as many others suspected, that is because he has been carrying an injury all this time.
After starting 13 of the first 14 Premier League games for Arsenal, Emile Smith Rowe has been on the bench for the last six games, playing just 63 minutes (but scoring three).
Speaking to the media ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup third round tie against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, Mikel Arteta said of Smith Rowe being an impact sub, “Well the main reason (behind) that was because he wasn’t completely fit to play.
“He’s been carrying an issue, and that hasn’t allowed him to train regularly, to play regularly, and that was the main reason. Because in his performances, and what he did before that international break – there is no question that he was one of our more important and consistent players.
“The only reason that changed the dynamic was that – and obviously now that the team (has been) doing well, there are other players who are doing well, and have been performing well.
“That changed the situation, but I am very happy with him.”
Arteta was then asked how Smith Rowe could get back into the starting lineup. “This is why we need that, we raise the level.
“Each player raises the level of the player next to him, and this is how you evolve as a team. How you create a culture around the team, that when I get the opportunity I have to grab it.
“That a statement should be done on the pitch, and not talking or making comments, and when you have the opportunity, grab it.
“Then show how good you are, and then if you do that you continue playing.”