In Young Guns, featured first in the official matchday programme, we find out about the next generation of Arsenal youngsters, in their own words.
This week we spoke to midfielder Emile Smith Rowe:
I joined Arsenal when I was 10, after the mum of a team-mate that I played with in my
Sunday side recommended that Arsenal come and watch me. She used to work
for Arsenal and her son was already at Hale End. After a scout watched me, I was
invited for a trial and signed after a couple of weeks, it was then I started making the trip up from south London to Highams Park.
We moved to Potters Bar when I was 14 which made travelling a little easier and I now live with my family in Cockfosters which is convenient for getting to the training ground. I’ve mostly played on the left or right wing and that was my main position.
I know it’s more normal for young players to start as a striker andthen move back through the positions in the team, but in the lastcouple of years I’ve also started to
play as a striker too. I’ve always scored a lot of goals from the wing, so I’m also comfortable playing as a striker because my finishing is quite good, so when one
of our strikers got injured I was asked to fill in. I continued to score and now
enjoy playing as a striker.
If I had to choose, I would prefer to play on the wing because I enjoy being at the heart of attacking play. I enjoy scoring goals, but I get a lot of enjoyment from making assists or developing our build-up play. I play mainly for the under-18s but have played a few times for the under-23s and started against Everton on the wing earlier this week. We lost heavily in that match, 5-0, but it was a good experience to play for the under-23s.
It was very different, the tempo was higher and it’s much more physical. I found out I was playing on the day of the game and I was really happy about that, but obviously not the result. Hopefully playing for the under-23s is the next stage of my development. In the summer, before I became a scholar, I travelled with the under-19s to South Africa and we won the Durban Trophy, beating the South Africa under-19s national team.
Sporting Lisbon and Rangers were also among the teams that took part, with a number of local sides too. It was good to win and retain the trophy. The standard of football was quite good and football is a big passion in South Africa. The South African teams showed good technique and are very physical, so the games weren’t easy. We visited a local school and the kids were so appreciative – we also learnt a lot, seeing a different way of life. It was a great team building event for us and especially for me as I didn’t know many of our players well before we went to South Africa.
Seeing different cultures, places and styles of football is a big reason why I enjoy playing for England. In domestic football the way teams set up and the style of play varies, but not massively. We recently had a double-header friendly with Belgium
which we won 3-1 and 6-0. The styles were quite similar but when we played against Brazil, they played with three at the back. Holland set up in a very attacking 4-2-4 formation and we had to learn quickly during the game to try and deal with that.
I have begun the season quite well and I’m looking to improve my strength and the defensive side of the game. I feel my main strengths are my pace, with and without the ball, and my finishing is quite good because I score a lot of goals, but I’m always trying to improve and at Arsenal I feel I’m at the best place to do just that.
When did you first play for the Arsenal academy?
At under-nine level
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
What’s the best aspect of your game?
Dribbling and crossing
And what do you still need to work on?
Who did you pretend to be in the playground?
If you had to sing one song to save your life, what would it be?
'No One' by Alicia Keys
If you could score any goal from history, which one would it be?
Dennis Bergkamp’s against Newcastle
What’s been the greatest moment in your career so far?
Making my international debut for England
Who has the best sense of humour?
Who is the worst dancer?
Who is the best at FIFA?
Who has the best engine?
Who is the worst dressed?
Who has the best ball skills?
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