Interview

‘Emile asked for the No 10, it shows his ambition’

Mikel Arteta has revealed that Emile Smith Rowe asked for the No 10 shirt - and says it underlines the attacking midfielder’s ambition.

The 20-year-old signed a new long-term contract on Thursday, and his manager is delighted to have his future sorted out ahead of the new season.

“I think he totally deserves that new contract, he has earned every right to be in the position where the club had to think about rewarding what he has done and he has shown his commitment to the football club,” Arteta told Arsenal Media. 

“So when that relationship builds in the way that it is getting, that is a really strong and powerful message for everybody. We want and I want hungry, talented [players] who play with huge desire and Emile fits all of that. 

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“If that is the case and you are on board and you show that commitment, desire, quality and talent every single day, you are at the right club at the right moment, and I think Emile feels the same way.

“He asked for [the No 10 shirt], so that shows you the ambition and desire. I prefer players who ask for more than maybe they can take but if they believe they can do it, don’t put a limit on it. When he asked me and asked the club that he would like to get that [number], okay, let’s go. 

“We talked a little bit, we discussed it and he knows the consequences of that, but he feels prepared to do it and if he is prepared to do it, then I am going to be right behind him to try to make him as comfortable and as happy as possible to do what he wants to do.”

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