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‘Scary’: BBC pundits left stunned by 'excellent' Arsenal player this season

Sam Preston February 5, 2021
‘Scary’: BBC pundits left stunned by 'excellent' Arsenal player this season
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Emile Smith Rowe’s emergence may just have changed the course of Arsenal’s season.

When he came into the side against Chelsea over Christmas, the Gunners were genuinely being talked about in relegation terms.

That always seemed premature but it’s a marker of just how bad their form had become under Mikel Arteta.

But Smith Rowe has led the revival and his recent form has led to rave reviews from BBC pundits Clinton Morrison, Matt Upson and Karen Carney.

Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“He does not look shy when he crosses the white line,” said Morrison. “He has been excellent, you would never think he is a shy lad because he is always demanding the ball.”

Upson added: “He plays with real freedom and he expresses himself well. To say he is shy shows how different personalities come out on the pitch.”

“The manager, the staff, the assistant all have a role to help him,” added Carney. He is at a massive club. He is going to need people to make him come out of his shell on and off the pitch.

“There is no question about his talent and ability. The more he plays the more confident he will get. If he is shy, imagine what he will be like when he is confident. It is scary.”

David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Plenty is made in the piece about Smith Rowe being shy off the pitch but confident on it.

That feels slightly overstated. He just isn’t flashy and seems focused on his football. That’s what most fans and managers want from their young players, isn’t it?

Along with Bukayo Saka, he has taken a huge club like Arsenal on his shoulders and dragged it forwards at a time when it was at a very low point.

He’s full of confidence, but just not loud with it. That doesn’t make him shy, but the BBC pundits are right to praise his quality.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.