'Emile’s performances have been extraordinary'

Mikel Arteta has hailed Emile Smith Rowe's "extraordinary" development this season - and says the reason he hasn't started recently has been down to a fitness issue.

Our academy graduate has been in fine form, scoring nine goals for us so far - but hasn't started a match since December 21.

"The reason why that happened is because he wasn’t fit," Mikel Arteta said. "There was nothing else.

"His performances, when he’s been fit, have been extraordinary, the way he’s evolving, with the importance that he has in the team, I think it’s without a doubt really, really positive, but he’s had an issue that he’s been carrying and obviously that’s been affecting his ability to train, his ability to compete, the amount of minutes that we can give him.

"We are trying to get that situation resolved as quickly as possible, because we need the best version of Emile for us to be successful."

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