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'We’re asking': Mertesacker shares what Arsenal staff want from Saka and Smith Rowe now

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Arsenal academy boss Per Mertesacker has claimed that Gunners staff are asking Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe to bring Champions League football back to the Emirates.

Mikel Arteta’s men seem to have turned their season around after a shocking start to the campaign. They will be hoping to finish in the top four at the end of this term, but that will be extremely difficult as things stand.

Arsenal have the youngest squad in the Premier League. The lack of experience will cost Arteta some points this season, but Mertesacker has claimed that the coaching staff have asked Saka and Smith Rowe, the two youngest players, to lead the club back into the Champions League.

Mertesacker: We’re asking Saka and Smith Rowe to lead Arsenal back into Champions League

The German said, as per The Mirror: “It’s always been a narrative at Arsenal to give young players a chance to play at the top. We’re asking Bukayo and Emile to lead us back to the Champions League. They will proudly take that but we also have to understand the context.

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“It’s always been there. If you ask Bukayo and Emile they will tell you how they were inspired by Jack Wilshere, Fabregas, Bellerin. So the next generation of Under 9 players at the academy will be inspired by these players.

“However, they will speak about the bumpy road, their learning, that journey that hasn’t always been easy. The reality is that these two are exceptions.

“We are giving young players the chance to learn to be vulnerable, to be exposed to the highest level and to be proper leaders for this club in two or three years’ time, while acknowledging they probably need to suffer before they bring us back to glory. That’s my expectations.

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“Hopefully, Bukayo and Emile can take on the next level of talent into the first team and challenge them in the right way.”

Mertesacker has really taken Arsenal’s academy to the next level. He has helped produce some top-quality youngsters, has secured the futures of the club’s best prospects and has signed some fine talents as well.

The German deserves a ton of credit for what he has done, but it’s now time for the players to step up. Saka and Smith Rowe have shown how it’s done already, and it really won’t be a surprise to see the pair lead Arsenal back into the Champions League this season or the next.

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