Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has set an extremely difficult challenge for Emile Smith Rowe as the young Englishman gears up for a full campaign in the Premier League next season.
The 20-year-old got his first start in the Premier League this season in December. He has been undroppable since, but the fact that his goal against West Brom last night was his first-ever in the English top-flight makes you wonder if he needs to step up.
Arteta, like all of us, is absolutely delighted with his performances. However, the Arsenal boss has set a massive challenge for Smith Rowe to achieve next season, and it’s not an easy one.
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “It says a lot in terms of where we are. He’s having an incredible season ever since he started to play in December. But he’s scoring his first Premier League goal.
“An incredible season for a No 10 of Arsenal means he needs to score 15 goals and give 10 assists. Then you are right up there with the top guys in Europe and in the league. He’s got the ability to do it but he hasn’t done it.
“We need to stay calm with him, give him the right support and step by step I think he will be getting there.”
The Insider’s View:
15 goals and 10 assists in one campaign would make it an incredible season for any attacking midfielder. Those are the kind of numbers that players like Kevin de Bruyne deliver, which shows just how difficult it is.
Cesc Fabregas – arguably Arsenal’s best attacking midfielder in the Emirates era – only managed to achieve that once in his Gunners career – 19 goals and 19 assists in the 2009/10 season.
The only Arsenal player who has even come close to that challenge is Mesut Ozil in 2016/17 when he scored 12 goals and provided 14 assists in all competitions.
That just shows that Arteta is expecting a lot of Smith Rowe at such a young age. However, he has shown this campaign that he is capable, and if he can even get close to beating his boss’ challenge next term, we will surely have a successful campaign.