Granit Xhaka explains why Arsenal youngster has become “so important” to Mikel Arteta’s side

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Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has explained why in-form youngster Emile Smith Rowe has become so important to the team in recent times.

The 20-year-old has previously struggled for first-team football at Arsenal, spending time out on loan at both RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town in the last couple of seasons.

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Now, however, Smith Rowe looks ready to start regularly for the Gunners after the way he’s shone for Mikel Arteta’s side in recent weeks.

Arsenal looked in need of a creative player like him in the absence of Mesut Ozil, and his introduction into the side has really turned things around for Arsenal, giving them something they’ve been missing for so much of the season.

Xhaka is clearly impressed with what he’s seen of the England youth international, saying the reason he’s become so important so quickly is because of both his quality and work rate, whilst adding that he’s showing a real willingness to learn as well.

“He’s a lovely guy,” Xhaka told Arsenal’s official site after last night’s win over Newcastle. “He’s a very good guy who wants to improve, he listens to us experienced players a lot and he’s so important to us.

“You can see how many balls he recovers, how many key balls he plays at the front and for the front guys as well, he’s so important. He has to keep going like this to improve day-by-day but he has a good mentality and that’s very important as well.”

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