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Arsenal star Smith Rowe can match Foden and Sancho, says Arteta

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The Gunners’ recent improvement in form has coincided with the playmaker being a regular Premier League starter.

Emile Smith Rowe has “enormous potential” to match the exploits of young England stars Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners start their FA Cup defense at home against Newcastle United on Saturday, supported by a strong recovery in their Premier League form.

A dominant 3-1 London Derby win over Chelsea on Boxing Day sparked an ongoing three-game winning streak.

Smith Rowe was given a starting spot in that game and held onto his spot after impressing as No.10, with the 20-year-old giving Arteta’s side a late idea of ​​intent. creative.

In 2017, Smith Rowe was part of the England squad that won the U17 World Cup, with Foden named player of the tournament.

Sancho played during the group stages before being called back to the club by Borussia Dortmund, and Arteta acknowledged that the duo were ahead of Smith Rowe in their development.

“He has enormous potential. He really wants it and he has the personality when he goes on the pitch to express and play the way he can play, ”said Arteta, who has coached Foden and – more briefly – Sancho at Manchester City as part of Full-Back Staff. -shop of Pep Guardiola.

“Doing it consistently is a different thing. The boys you mentioned, they did. It is true that they are ahead in their development phase because they have played a lot more minutes and games in the last two. seasons.

“But he’s able to do it. Whether he does so will depend on how he continues to develop, how he seizes the opportunity he has in front of him and how much we can help him get there. “

Disappointing loan stints at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town over the past two years preceded a pre-season shoulder injury, but a player dubbed “The Croydon De Bruyne” by some Arsenal fans has shown that ‘he was ready to make up for lost time.

“A lot of things happened to him last year,” Arteta admitted. “He needs to establish himself here, he has to be successful here, he has to really find his role and his position in the team and in the club.

“It will help him to have a clear path. We really believe in him. He needs not to be afraid and to go for it, because he has quality. ”

That quality has certainly been at the forefront this season, with Smith Rowe’s four assists at the rate of one in every 93.5 minutes in seven appearances in all competitions.

With the youngster in the squad, Arsenal averaged 2.9 goals per game. The Europa League 4-1 triumph over Rapid Vienna – in which he scored – was one of six wins that Smith Rowe has been involved in that tenure, a winning percentage of 85.7% that drops to 40 in 20 games he has spent as a spectator.

It seems impossible that Arteta would let him out of such a large proportion of games again, but the former Emirates Stadium skipper pointed to the examples of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, who completed a middle trident. Exciting offensive alongside Smith Rowe against Chelsea and Brighton, when discussing how young players should handle their workload.

It could mean a few stints in different positions, as Saka did during his very young career at Arsenal, although Arteta cannot deny the much-needed rise his breakthrough stars have given Arsenal, even if he is. he tries to manage expectations.

“Sometimes a team is a little worried and has a certain fear because of the results, because of the pressure”, he added, before noting the impact by “enthusiasm” of the younger members of his squad. .

“I think they’ve been really helpful because they’ve re-energized the team. They pushed the team in a different direction and at a different pace as well. ”

“But, of course, younger players need that strength, that experience and that maturity that older players bring. It’s a good combination. ”