How Mikel Arteta's advice for Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka is already producing results

By Alan Smith

Emile Smith Rowe has been told by Mikel Arteta that the key to adding more goals to his game rests in calmness when it comes to finishing, with the attacker saying that he and Bukayo Saka have also been leaning on the club’s senior players for advice.

Smith Rowe saved England Under-21’s blushes with a rapid counterattacking goal away to Andorra last night, displaying plenty of composure after an exhausting sprint from his own penalty area to meet Curtis Jones’s pass.

It was the Hale End graduate’s first goal at this level, adding to the pair already scored this season for his club, and it is an area of his game that has been receiving additional attention on the training ground. Saka, meanwhile, has got four goals for club and country - including one in each of his past two games for England's senior team.

“He has spoken to us and given us so much confidence to stay calm,” Smith Rowe said of Arteta’s influence. “We know we're going to be getting into these positions. Because we're both young players we've got to stay as calm as possible and just focus on the goal really.

“We've been practicing a lot in training, after training and we get the support from the experienced players in the team as well, they're always helping us. It's really good at Arsenal, we're really happy with the help we're getting.”

Lee Carsley, the Under-21 head coach who said he was “definitely” relieved to come away with a win, has been impressed by Smith Rowe in this camp and believes he has the conversion ability of a centre forward.

The key for Carsley is to get him into scoring positions more frequently - beginning with next month’s crucial game against Czech Republic at Turf Moor.

“I think with any wide player they are always judged on goals and assists and Emile has got the ability to do both,” he said. “I've seen him in training, the way he finds the corners and finishes very calmly, he finishes like a centre forward at times and the opposite to that is that he has got that last pass which is really important.

“That's why I'm keen on getting him in really attacking positions more often, the higher up we can get him and the more we can get him one-vs-one he'll create a lot of problems like he does at Arsenal.”

Before this international break, senior manager Gareth Southgate said that Smith Rowe was close to a call up to his side but such is the competition for places in attacking positions the path towards a place in next year’s World Cup squad remains a narrow one.

“The seniors have a really strong team at the moment so I always know it is going to be difficult,” Smith Rowe added.

“For me I've just got to keep my head down and stay focused and keep doing what I am doing and hopefully I'll get that opportunity in the future.”


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.