ARSENAL are reaping the benefits of Emile Smith Rowe being ‘bullied’ in the Championship, says the man who signed him for Huddersfield.
David Webb, Head of Football Operations at the Terriers, brought the Gunners star to the John Smith’s Stadium last year on loan.
Arsenal are reaping the benefits of Emile Smith Rowe’s stint in the ChampionshipCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The England starlet impressed on loan at Huddersfield last seasonCredit: PA:Press Association
Smith Rowe made 19 appearances during his time in West Yorkshire – even scoring the goal in the 1-1 draw with West Brom that confirmed Leeds United’s return to the Premier League in July.
The 20-year-old has kicked on from that point, breaking into Arsenal’s first-team this season in the No10 role vacated by Mesut Ozil.
⚽ Read our Arsenal live blog for the latest news from The Emirates
And Huddersfield chief Webb suggested that a spell in the second tier has made Smith Rowe better prepared for life in the top-flight.
He told BBC Sport: “It was a different challenge for him altogether at Huddersfield and I think it really helped him.
“The training was quite competitive and physical, which he enjoyed and he took it on to the pitch. He was getting knocked and kicked and bullied about a bit, but he took it all in his stride.
“That really developed his fighting spirit, which has helped him now because he came into Arsenal when they were in a bit of a dip and they needed that.”
Smith Rowe has earned plaudits for his performances at Arsenal since getting his break under Mikel Arteta.
He has two goals and five assists in 13 first-team appearances this term and is in line to agree a new-long term contract at the Emirates.
FRIDAY NIGHT POKER: Play TONIGHT at 8pm to win a share of $5,500
Arteta is likely to give Smith Rowe a ninth Prem start in a row when he takes his side to Villa Park on Saturday lunchtime.
But he faces increasing competition for his place following the January arrival of Real Madrid sensation Martin Odegaard.
Arsenal also have long-term plans to bring in a new creative midfielder this summer, with Lyon’s Houssem Aouar a long-term target.