Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has suggested that Emile Smith Rowe will be on the bench again in the Premier League game against Fulham this evening.
The young Englishman has been one of Arsenal’s best players under Arteta alongside Bukayo Saka. He has been incredible for the Gunners, but injuries have really troubled him over the last year.
Smith Rowe, branded as an ‘exceptional’ player, started just one of Arsenal’s final five games in the Premier League last season. He wasn’t even in the squad on the opening day of this campaign and only came on as a substitute in the fixtures against Leicester City and Bournemouth.
That is not enough game time for a player of his quality, especially with the World Cup coming up in less than three months’ time.
Mikel Arteta suggests Emile Smith Rowe will be on the bench in Arsenal vs Fulham
In his press conference yesterday, Arteta was asked about Smith Rowe’s lack of minutes and the Arsenal boss revealed that it is because didn’t have a full pre-season.
He further claimed that the youngster is ‘not there yet,’ which suggests he is still not in contention to start games.
When asked if he has had to speak to Smith Rowe about not playing a lot, the Arsenal boss said, as per HaytersTV: “No, because he has been injured. He has not had a clean pre-season, he’s not there yet.”
“He participated in the last few games and he needs to now earn the right to play in the team.
“In order to do that, he needs to perform and be consistent.”
Arteta will likely name an unchanged XI
Arsenal take on newly-promoted Fulham at the Emirates this evening, and Arteta would love nothing more than to extend his side’s unbeaten start to the season.
The Gunners are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table. They are the only side in the division to win each of their first three games, and they’ve looked incredible so far.
Arteta has absolutely no reason to change his team for the game this evening.
Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka are expected to start in front of Martin Odegaard in attack this evening, which means Smith Rowe will have to settle for a spot on the bench again.
The Englishman, however, will likely come on as a substitute, and if he has a good impact, he will give Arteta something to think about for the upcoming games.