Rio Ferdinand admits he “loves” to watch Emile Smith Rowe play football and claims the youngster would have excelled during the Arsene Wenger era at the club.
Smith Rowe has been in fine form since breaking into the Arsenal first team late last year. He’s earned plenty of plaudits for his style and ability in and around the penalty area.
The 20-year-old was labelled a “huge breath of fresh air” for the Gunners by Gareth Southgate during an interview late last month. That has led to calls from Mikel Arteta for the youngster to secure a call-up to the England squad.
However, he is instead been named in the Under-21s – fitting reward for his progress.
With two goals and six assists to his name from 22 appearances, Smith Rowe has certainly caught the eye.
Indeed, Ferdinand claims the player is really pleasing on the eye and reckons he’ll enjoy a long and successful career with Arsenal.
He told his YouTube channel: “I love him. I have to say, I love him; I love the way he plays.When [Martin] Odegaard came in, I was a little worried.
“Would the manager play him in the same team? But he’s come in, and the way he’s played this season, there’s sometimes even that cheekiness about the way he plays.
“I said this a while ago that he could have played in the era of Wenger, the way he plays football.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air and a big positive under Arteta. I think [Bukayo] Saka’s obviously been the standout young gun that’s come in, but he’s not far behind. And for the future, I think it’s very, very bright for him.”
Dangerous precedent being set by Arteta
Meanwhile, Match of the Day host Gary Lineker felt Arteta was setting a dangerous precedent by dropping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Sunday.
The Gunners came from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 and keep alive their hopes of securing European football next season.
However, all the talk after the game was about Arteta’s decision to drop Aubameyang. That decision came after he was late for a team meeting ahead of the game.
Pictures later emerged of Aubameyang stuck in traffic in Muswell Hill trying to get to Emirates Stadium. However, it was then claimed that Aubameyang’s tardiness wasn’t the first time – forcing Arteta to act.
Nonetheless, the punishment drew criticism from Lineker, who hinted Arteta now must act the same way to others.
“Can’t be, surely? You fine players for being late, not drop them,” the former England striker tweeted.