The 18-year-old midfielder scored in a win over Vorskla, prompting praise from the Gunners manager
Unai Emery hailed Emile Smith Rowe as an example for Arsenal’s young players to follow after the 18-year-old scored in a Europa League win against Vorskla.
Arsenal sent a makeshift squad to Ukraine, with the game moved at short notice to Kiev by UEFA due to security concerns following the introduction of martial law in some parts of the country.
But the Gunners shrugged off the disruption with goals from Smith Rowe, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Willock ensuring Arsenal qualify for the Europa League knockout phase as Group E winners.
Smith Rowe in particular was impressive in an inexperienced Arsenal side, catching Emery’s eye ahead of Sunday’s north London derby against rivals Tottenham.
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“He is taking confidence, he is taking responsibility and also I think his performance in 90 minutes is very good,” Emery told a news conference.
“He is a good example for the other young players. We think they can help us but they need the confidence of playing matches, not only working with us in the training sessions.
“They need to take minutes in matches like today. We want and have the responsibility with the young players like Emile but also the others for them to stay, work and show us that they can improve and stay with us.
“We were thinking today about our victory and also to create with the right players and to give chances to a lot of players. We played with young players also and they are working with us in training every day. In the 90 minutes, the first thing for us is to win, and then finish the match with some substitutions and the end result.”
Smith Rowe has scored three goals in his last four Arsenal appearances and the teenager was pleased with his performance – after warming up from the freezing conditions in Kiev.
“It was a good win for us and a few lads got their debuts, so we’re just happy to get the win,” said Smith Rowe.
“My fingers and my toes are very cold, but you’ve just got to get on with it.
“Every cup we’re in we want to win. We’re improving in every game and I’m very happy to be involved.”