During the pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League tie against Crystal Palace on Thursday, Mikel Arteta was quizzed on his feelings towards a popular new nickname for one of his stars.
Academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe has been hailed the ‘Croydon De Bruyne’ – in reference to Manchester City superstar Kevin de Bruyne, owing to his fine performances as of late.
The 20-year-old was finally handed his long-awaited chance away from the Europa League and Carabao Cup when he was surprisingly included for the Boxing Day fixture against rivals Chelsea.
The versatile attacking midfielder repaid Arteta for the faith as he spurred the Gunners to an upset win, before also playing key roles in the victories against Brighton, West Brom and Newcastle in the FA Cup.
Smith Rowe, who impressed in his few outings on loan at RB Leipzig in the 18/19 season and starred for Huddersfield last term, has offered a much-needed creative spark to the side.
Mikel Arteta has given his thoughts on the Kevin de Bruyne-inspired nickname that Arsenal talent Emile Smith Rowe has won recently… pic.twitter.com/LXZgFqWeOr
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) January 11, 2021
“Call him Emile. Let’s keep it simple, it’s just the start, there’s a lot to do.”
The England Under-20s international has contributed two assists and a goal in the four appearances since he was brought into the side on Boxing Day, he’s been absolutely phenomenal.
Arteta can’t be blamed for trying to steer the nickname away from Smith Rowe – as it does bring comparisons to one of the world’s best players that he shouldn’t be judged upon – but players and fans alike are just having some fun, they too can’t be faulted for such after a disastrous run beforehand.
It will be interesting to see if Smith Rowe’s performances have come at exactly the right time for Arsenal to avoid spending cash on a playmaker in the January transfer window.