Arsenal coach Unai Emery says teenager Emile Smith Rowe can serve as an “example” for the other academy players after the midfielder starred for a youthful Gunners side against FC Vorskla in the Europa League.
Smith Rowe scored the opening goal of a 3-0 win and was one of several youngsters who impressed for Arsenal, who finished the game with six teenagers on the pitch.
It was the third goal in his last four starts for Smith Rowe, who has emerged as one of the top prospects at the club. And Emery, who brought 12 academy products to Ukraine for this game, said he is hoping the club’s other youngsters can learn from the England youth international.
“He is taking confidence, he is taking responsibility and also I think today his performance in 90 minutes is very good,” Emery said of Smith Rowe. “He is a good example for the other young players.
“We think they can help us but they need the confidence of playing matches, not only working with us in the training sessions. They need to take minutes in matches like today. We want and have the responsibility with the young players like Emile but also the others for them to stay, work and show us that they can improve and stay with us.”
Fellow teenager Joe Willock also scored his first goal for the club, while striker Eddie Nketiah was handed his first start under Emery. The Arsenal boss also handed debuts to three other teenagers who came off the bench in the second half in centre-back Zech Medley, winger Bukayo Saka and midfielder Charlie Gilmour.
Emery left nearly all of his Premier League regulars at home, with one eye toward Sunday’s North London Derby.
“We were thinking today about our victory and also to create with the right players and to give chances to a lot of players,” Emery said. “We played with young players also and they are working with us in training every day.
“In the 90 minutes, the first thing for us is to win, and then finish the match with some substitutions and the end result.”
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