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Owen Hargreaves and Paul Ince have doubts regarding Arsenal 20-year-old

Arsenal v Sporting CP - UEFA Europa League - Group E
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Owen Hargreaves and Paul Ince have doubts regarding Arsenal 20-year-old

Emile Smith-Rowe’s breakthrough into the Arsenal side has coincided with a return to form for Mikel Arteta’s men. The playmaker has helped Arsenal fans forget about Mesut Ozil’s omission – but Paul Ince and Owen Hargreaves have doubts.

Smith-Rowe, 20, has started Arsenal’s last three Premier League games – in which the Gunners have won. The playmaker has laid on two assists in that time, capping off a beautiful move in which Smith-Rowe squared to Bukayo Saka to tap home.

The England Under-20 international now has 19 senior Arsenal appearances to his name – scoring four goals and creating four more in that time. As he continues to shine, he is expected to remain in the team – but Arsenal are on the lookout for a new 10.


Indeed, Houssem Aouar and Emi Buendia are linked while Dominik Szoboszlai is expected to join RB Leipzig despite interest from the Gunners. Smith-Rowe might be replaced then, and both Ince and Hargreaves have doubts over the youngster.

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Hargreaves told Premier League Productions: “I think Smith-Rowe is good. He’s smart, he plays quick, he doesn’t take too many touches – he knows he’s not a skillful flair player. Arteta has found a blend with these young guns to go alongside Aubameyang.

Ince added: “I don’t think Smith-Rowe is quite there yet. It’s a learning curve for him. They’re getting there.”

TBR’s view – Smith-Rowe deserves time and opportunities

He has been excellent since coming into the side. The way he is playing finally provides Arsenal with balance and connection between the midfield and attack. He might not be a goal threat, but he strings everything together.

The Gunners have a goal threat in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, they have wingers aplenty in Willian, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and more – and midfield stability in the likes of Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Mo Elneny.

A 10 is needed, and Smith-Rowe is managing to throw his name into the hat as the long-term solution.

Dundalk v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Group B

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