Emile Smith Rowe’s impact on the Arsenal team has been clear to see.
After a growing clamour to throw the 20-year-old into his starting XI, Mikel Arteta finally opted to hand him a Premier League chance over the festive period.
Starting against Chelsea, Smith Rowe registered an assist in the win over their London rivals, a result which ended a run of six matches without one.
The former Huddersfield loanee retained his place for the trip to Brighton, with Arsenal recording back-to-back victories for the first time since the opening pair of games of the season.
Arteta recently admitted he’s been a major fan of Smith Rowe since taking over from Unai Emery in 2019.
He said: “He is a player that I really liked since the first day I watched him. Just the way he moves, how intelligent he is with the positions he takes and his work rate – don’t underestimate that.
“He works really hard for the team and he had a really bad injury this year and hasn’t really trained with us at all.
“For the last two weeks he has been much more involved and you can see what he can bring to the team. I am delighted to have a young player with his talent and in that position. It was something that we needed.”
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And Arteta clearly isn’t the only admirer within the Arsenal dressing room, with eagle eyed fans noticing his new nickname amongst teammates.
In a training video released by the club, several noticed Kieran Tierney appearing to call Smith Rowe "Croydon De Bruyne" in reference to Manchester City’s star.
It’s not the first time he’s been compared to the Belgian, with Reiss Nelson tagging in Kevin De Bruyne in reply to a post following the win over Brighton.
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