Smith Rowe hoping for first-team opportunity against Boreham Wood and possibly beyond


The identity of the youngsters selected to train with the first-team in pre-season this week hasn’t come as much of a surprise.

Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah all racked up plenty of senior game time last season, while Matt Macey, Deyan Iliev and Jordi Osei-Tutu have also previously at least made the bench for the first-team.

For Emile Smith Rowe, however, his involvement with Unai Emery’s squad has been rather significant as it hints that the hugely talented youngster could receive some game time during pre-season.

Arsenal commence their preparation fixtures against Boreham Wood a week on Saturday, and, given the opposition, Emery may feel inclined to give Smith Rowe a run out to assess his credentials further.

Last season Smith Rowe, despite enduring some injury setbacks, continued to enhance his profile, especially during the FA Youth Cup, as he produced some excellent performances.

Having been developed as a winger, the Hale End product, who doesn’t turn 18 until later this month, has more recently been deployed as a central midfielder, and the transformation has been a successful one.

A superb dribbler and capable of playing exquisite passes, Smith Rowe is a joy to watch and, perhaps most importantly, he plays without fear, although he does strike plenty of fear into opposing defenders.

No longer eligible for the U18s, it is anticipated that this season Smith Rowe will continue to gain further experience at U23 level, having become increasingly involved for the second-string last campaign.

Smith Rowe’s main objective, though, will be to make his competitive debut for the first-team, and that could certainly come in one of the cup competitions.

Firstly, though, the England youth international will be determined to impress in training and convince Emery that he deserves some minutes against Boreham Wood.

If he was to impress at Meadow Park, a ground he knows well, then Smith Rowe might find himself in contention for the subsequent games in Singapore, although the situation will be complicated somewhat as some of the players who were on World Cup duty will be starting to return to training.

All Smith Rowe can do is focus on his own game, and the fact that he is involved in first-team training already is a very positive sign indeed.



  1. Jorge, off topic a bit, but what are your thoughts on Jack the Lad? You’ve watched more than most
    Is it a mistake he is going? I thought it was time but now watched some old matches he is class x 10.

    1. I still think he could have made a major contribution if he stayed but from his perspective it was probably the right decision to leave as he needs to play all the time.

      1. I think the calibre of teams he’s been linked with highlights why we shouldn’t miss him too much. I’d have loved for it to work out but sometimes you’ve got to let go.

      2. I don’t have a problem with him leaving for playing time, but the caliber of the team after him should worry him.
        No offense to him or Turkey, but he is unlikely to strive there. Culture shock, away from his family and mates, his stay will be very short. That failure will then tarnish his reputation even further.
        If I were his agent, I would have told him to sign a new deal with Arsenal with release clause in his favour if he does not play a certain number of minutes due to the coach choice (hitherto excluding time spend injured).
        As I believe that Emery will be sacked at the end of the coming season that is really a free shot. Also with the Europa league taking a huge strain (bigger distance, playing on Thursday, …), he would have been given more opportunities than discussed.
        As a side note he should already have been working on his own pre-season fitness training. Maybe it’s me, but he looked heavy. It is like Luke Shaw who knows that Mourinho already thinks he is a dilettante. Instead of showing up ripped turn up chubby. Whatvabway to impress a coach. That unprofessional attitude is unlikely to end well for either of them. Sometimes you wonder if some professional footballers are not only badly advised but also just plain stupid.

      3. He does need to play, but he also needs to stay fit enough to play. If he’s stayed and remained fit then he’d have got a run in the teams and could have made his mark. But instead he’s going to a team like West Ham which is a big step down and does nothing to change the question mark over his fitness.
        It’s a great shame as he is an excellent player who should really be at a big club playing European football and deserves to be in the England squad whenever he’s fit.

  2. Jeorge, do you think that Smith-Rowe could force his way into the 1st team picture as a winger, there is certainly some room in that area of a squad that is top heavy with central midfielders, he also has an eye for a goal, a useful gift to have.

    Btw, what’s the situation with Charlie Gilmour in your opinion, do you think that he has a future at the club and if so,McDaniel you see him getting any senior exposure, maybe in the League Cup and Checkatrade Trophy?

  3. McDaniel?
    I don’t know where the hell that came from…?
    It should read ‘if so, do you see him’ etc…

    Finally Jeorge, do you think that Reiss Nelson is going to leave this summer?

    1. I think Smith Rowe could some chances in either position and he definitely seems like the next player to step up.

      Gilmour improved quite a lot last season but isn’t quite ready for the first team yet so I think the Checkatrade Trophy is a good way to bridge that gap.

      On Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 2:56 AM Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


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