Gary Neville has claimed that Emile Smith Rowe could’ve played in some of Arsene Wenger’s old teams following the attacker’s performance against Newcastle on Monday night.
The England youth international was in scintillating form as he combined with Bukayo Saka for the side’s second goal in their 3-0 win over the Geordies.
Speaking on Sky Sports following the game, the former Manchester United ace claimed the young gun glides with the ball as he compared him to many ‘erratic’ young players.
Neville said: “You watch Smith Rowe play, you watch a lot of young players play, particularly in the front areas, they’re frantic. Their choices are a little bit erratic, they don’t normally get it right. He doesn’t run with the ball, he glides with it, travels with it, and he’s always at a point where you feel like he can release it.”
“Arsene Wenger had brilliant players who travelled with the ball, like Robert Pires and others who travelled with the ball brilliantly and were so clever. He could have played in those teams.” (via Sky Sports)
Could Emile Smith Rowe have featured in the Invincibles team?
One of the biggest compliments you can give Arsenal players from the early 2000s is that they used the ball extremely well. The likes of Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry very rarely lost the ball through carelessness, showing quality through dribbling and passing.
For Neville to claim Smith Rowe can play alongside those types of players really does hammer home how good the Hale End product is. The 20-year-old’s use of the ball was exceptional once again on Monday evening as he ran the Newcastle back-line ragged.
He was never dispossessed and created four chances, the most of any players, and for someone so young it’s a stark reminder of how he’s playing well beyond his young years.
When you look at the fact Smith Rowe has only played six first-team games this season, it makes his displays all the more staggering. It begs the question? How high is the Croydon-born ace’s ceiling? Can he honestly reach the level of Kevin de Bruyne, who he’s been likened too in recent weeks?
We’ll have to wait and find out just how the youngster progresses moving forward, however, for now, he proves one of the first name on Arsenal’s teamsheet.