Former Arsenal academy boss Andries Jonker has revealed what he thought about Emile Smith Rowe during his time at the club.
The Dutchman spent close to three years at Arsenal between 2014 and 2017. He knows almost all of our youngsters who have made it to the top, and his opinion of Smith Rowe will likely shock every Gooner out there.
Jonker claims that he always knew Smith Rowe was a good player but nobody at Arsenal never quiet believed that he would make it to the senior squad. That is a huge shock considering how incredible he has been since Christmas.
Nobody expected Smith Rowe to succeed at Arsenal
Jonker told TV2: “He was always motivated and dedicated as an academy player. He has always been very stable in his performances. He rarely played four games, rarely did he have an eight on the stock exchange. As a rule, he was 6-7 out of 10.
“We definitely thought he could have a career in football, but I do not think many predicted that it would get on the first team of Arsenal. He was a talent with a solid head, but he was never seen as the greatest talent in the academy. I’m very proud of what he’s achieving at the moment because he’s really put in all the work himself.
“He was someone you could trust, someone who was rarely injured. I remember his father telling me that it would be good for the development of his personality to go abroad. So I was not surprised when he went to Leipzig on loan.
“He is a down-to-earth type who does not allow himself to be distracted by peripheral things. He is simply a good boy to work with.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
It really is a shock to hear that many at Arsenal didn’t think Smith Rowe would make it. The young Englishman has impressed almost every time he has been on the pitch – even under Unai Emery in his debut campaign.
Arsenal, thankfully, didn’t make the mistake of letting him leave. He is now one of our best players, and even if many in the academy didn’t fully rate him back then, they deserve a lot of credit for helping him reach the level he’s currently at.
It is now time for Smith Rowe to take his game to the next level. He has remained fairly consistent so far, but he needs to raise his game in the coming weeks. If he can, Arsenal will benefit massively and he will go on to establish himself as one of the best in the division.