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Ex-Spurs man admits he once 'tried' to sign Arsenal star who 'destroyed' Tottenham on Sunday

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David Webb, Tottenham’s former head of elite potential identification, spoke to The Telegraph about the time when his Spurs side tried to sign Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe.

The now 20-year-old has been a revelation since Boxing Day. He has played almost every game and has been one of Arsenal’s best players recently.

His performance on his debut in the North London derby on Sunday was absolutely incredible. As Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports’ Main Event channel (7:15pm, 15 March), Smith Rowe ‘destroyed’ Tottenham, and that’s no exaggeration.

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Arsenal fans are absolutely delighted with Smith Rowe’s recent displays, but not many know that he was in Tottenham’s sights just a few years ago.

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Webb has revealed that he tried to sign Smith Rowe when the midfielder was 16 years old. He felt that the Croydon-born Englishman would have been perfect in Pochettino’s system, but Spurs failed in their pursuit.

He said: “He played against Tottenham for the Under-18s and he really stood out in the number 10 role. It was his movement off the ball that was so eye-catching, and his work-rate as well.

“For a young player, that sometimes does not come in until later in their development.

“We tried to sign him before he signed his scholarship at Arsenal. He was a player that fitted the way Mauricio Pochettino played and even at 16 we were looking at him as a potential young player who could progress into the first team.”

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Arsenal Insider’s view:

Emile Smith Rowe is Arsenal through and through and there’s no way he would ever have agreed to leave us for the small club down the road.

The 20-year-old has five goals and six assists to his name in all competitions this season. He has been absolutely incredible for us, and he will have to keep this up until the end of the season to help us finish the campaign well.

If Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard and co continue to play like they did for most parts on Sunday, we should be able to beat every side we are yet to face before the end of the season – both in the Premier League and in the Europa League.

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