Former England defender and Premier League icon Rio Ferdinand spoke on his Vibe with Five podcast about Arsenal star and Sunday’s North London derby hero Emile Smith Rowe.
The Englishman was undoubtedly the man of the match against Tottenham on Sunday. He gave Spurs all sorts of problems and was inches away from scoring an absolute worldie on his derby debut.
Arsenal fans and Mikel Arteta heaped praise on Smith Rowe after his performance against the enemy on Sunday.
Ferdinand has now jumped on the bandwagon and the former Manchester United defender has boldly claimed that the 20-year-old is good enough to have played in one of Arsene Wenger’s greatest teams.
He said: “I have to say, I love him. I love the way he plays, Smith Rowe.
“I was worried actually when Odegaard came in – would the manager play them both in the same team? But he’s come in this season and just there’s sometimes even that cheekiness about the way that he plays, the way he lends the ball about.
“I said this a while ago, he could’ve played in the era of Wenger in the way that he plays football. He makes that extra pass, always seems to have that bit of time on the ball, plays with his head up and he’s got that vision and spatial awareness in finding someone in a red shirt.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air and a big positive under Arteta. I think Saka’s obviously been the stand-out young gun that’s come in but he’s not very far behind. For the future, I think it’s very bright for him.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
There was once a young midfielder who burst onto the scene under Wenger just like Smith Rowe has done now. His name was Cesc Fabregas and the Spaniard became one of the best creative players to ever play for Arsenal.
Smith Rowe is following in the same footsteps. He became the youngest player to register four key passes in a North London derby since Fabregas all the way back in 2007.
Saying Smith Rowe would’ve featured in Wenger’s best teams is a massive compliment to the young playmaker. He’s still only 20 and the fact that he is already so good is really exciting to all Arsenal supporters.
Hopefully, he can carry this on until the end of the season and beyond to potentially become an Arsenal skipper one day, just like Fabregas did all those years ago.