Gary Neville has told Sky Sports (broadcast on 18/1; 22:08) that Emile Smith Rowe looks like the kind of player who could have got into Arsene Wenger’s side following his latest outstanding display for Arsenal on Monday night.
Mikel Arteta’s men beat Newcastle 3-0 at the Emirates. And once again, Smith Rowe was superb. He provided one assist and was arguably unlucky not to contribute several more.
He produced a fantastic run to set up Bukayo Saka for Arsenal’s second goal. And following the game, Neville suggested that Smith Rowe evoked memories of some of the great Gunners players he used to come up against.
“[Wenger] had brilliant players, like Pires and others that traveled with the ball brilliantly and were so clever and intelligent,” he told Sky Sports.
“He could have played in the old Arsenal teams the way in which he plays. And he’s only played six games. Six games is unbelievable. He looks so experienced.”
As Neville notes, it is remarkable to think about how well Smith Rowe has taken his chance. The 20-year-old – who earns £20,000-a-week, according Spotrac – has contributed three assists in just five Premier League starts this season.
Like Saka last season, Smith Rowe looks to be almost too good to simply be considered a youngster with a bright future. He is making an incredible impact already.
And encouragingly for Arsenal, he is not the only inexperienced player making the most of the chances coming his way. There is now a crop of prospects threatening with their current form to become key men for the Gunners for years to come.