Arsenal star Smith Rowe urged to copy Nketiah by sending message to Arteta

Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe has been urged to take heed of Eddie Nketiah’s path into the first team. Former England striker Andy Johnson says the Gunners midfielder must be ready to step into the team at any point.

Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is looking to put last season's injuries behind him and push on

Smith Rowe hasn’t started a match for Arsenal in any competition since May 2022. He missed much of the first half of last season after undergoing groin surgery.

He has been fit for the majority of 2023 but has been unable to catch Mikel Arteta’s eye and has fallen behind the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson in the pecking order. Arteta has promised that Smith Rowe will be given more of an opportunity this season.

However, that is yet to come to fruition as he has been an unused substitute in all four Premier League matches so far this term. It is some fall from grace for Smith Rowe, whose form in an Arsenal shirt earned him a first call-up to the senior England squad in 2021.

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Johnson believes Smith Rowe must ensure he is ready to play whenever Arteta needs him. Nketiah did just that last season, stepping in admirably for Gabriel Jesus after he underwent knee surgery.

Nketiah took his chance again at the beginning of this campaign when Jesus was out. The striker’s early-season form saw him called up by Gareth Southgate for the first time.

Johnson says Smith Rowe must be patient despite a frustrating lack of game time. Johnson exclusively told Ladbrokes Fanzone: “Obviously Emile Smith Rowe is in an unfortunate position for Arsenal right now, because those players in the starting line-up have been performing really well.

“He just needs to be patient because he’s still really young. I’m sure there’s frustration there within the individual, but that’s natural for any human being who wants to be successful.

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“He just needs to bide his time and his opportunity will come. There are so many games coming up, with Arsenal back in Europe and cup games coming up… he’s going to get a chance to impress the manager, and then it’ll be down to him to be fit, sharp and ready… like Eddie Nketiah did last season.

“There’s no guarantee in the Premier League in general, but in particular in those top six or seven teams in the division, that you’re going to be starting week-in, week-out. You’ve got to be consistently performing, but Emile is still young, he’s still developing and learning, so he’s got plenty of time to impact this team.

“I’ve got no concerns about him, he’s a top player who adds a really good dimension to Arsenal, but he’s surrounded by healthy competition, which is only a good thing.”

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