After Nicolas Pepe left Arsenal, Mikel Arteta challenged Emile Smith Rowe to demonstrate why he should be given another chance to play for the club.
Smith Rowe is another player who has had few opportunities lately. Arsenal’s £72 million, club-record signing joined Nice on loan this week after growing frustrated at a lack of playing time.
Around this time last year, the 22-year-old started a streak of five goals in eight outings that ultimately resulted in his first call-up to the England squad.
Smith Rowe’s progress has since been hampered by illness and injuries, and now that the World Cup is approaching, he has lost his starting position.
This summer, Arteta was further strengthened by the addition of Fabio Vieira as competition in attacking midfield.
In two of Arsenal’s three victories this season, Smith Rowe has come on as a late replacement.
Arteta said of Smith Rowe before Fulham’s visit on Saturday: “He now needs to earn the right to play in the team.”
He must perform and maintain consistency in order to accomplish it. Smith Rowe and Arteta have not yet spoken about Arteta’s chances to play for the first squad.
No because he’s been injured. He’s not had a clean pre-season, he’s not there yet.
The opportunity for rotation should increase with Arsenal’s return to Europe, but Arteta underlined that “every day is the important” for him.
What he shows every day and that consistency and that hunger and increase the level.’ Shifting Pepe was long part of Arsenal’s wider strategy to bring in another wide player.
We’ll try to carry out the plan, Arteta added, if we can. “In that scheme, (Pepe leaving) was a possibility.” Now that it is a reality, we have been putting in the work over the past two months to get where we want to be.
We’ll have to wait and see if that’s even feasible. Arsenal is interested in Pedro Neto of Wolves but worries that a summer transfer would be too expensive.
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