After spending the second-half of last season on loan at Championship side Huddersfield, Emile Smith Rowe has been waiting for his chance to shine under Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
Described as a “fantastic talent“, the academy product has yet to make a competitive appearance under the Spaniard, but given the Gunners’ creative issues – they have managed just nine goals in nine Premier League games – a space for someone like Smith Rowe is surely there.
Capable of playing on either flank, but perhaps most comfortable playing in a more central no.8 or n0.10 position, the 20-year-old offers something completely different to arguably anyone else in the current squad.
His ability to play off both feet, and receive passes on the turn make him a dangerous attacking midfielder that is difficult for the opposition to really pick up and close down.
Former Arsenal player, Adrian Clarke, waxed lyrical about the youngster, declaring: “The first time I clapped eyes on Emile Smith Rowe, there was one player that immediately came to my mind and this is a huge compliment to Emile Smith Rowe and it is Kevin De Bruyne.
“He just looks a little bit like him when he is on the ball, he’s got that dynamism, he’s a box-to-box midfielder that is very, very creative and able to beat his man and drive forward. He whips a good cross in, he’s an excellent passer.”
With the Gunners travelling to take on Molde in the Europa League on Thursday, Arteta has the perfect chance to see for himself whether Smith Rowe has the potential to be Arsenal’s own De Bruyne in the long-term.
Arteta of course has worked with the Belgian superstar before in his time at Manchester City, and will know all about the qualities that the talisman has.
By giving Smith Rowe an opportunity to impress on Thursday, he could be pleasantly surprised, and even see him as a possible solution to the side’s struggles in the Premier League too.