Gary Neville explains what makes Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe such an exceptional young player

Gary Neville explained what makes Emile Smith Rowe and exceptional young player after Arsenal cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Newcastle United on Monday night.

Smith Rowe, 20, was impressive yet again for Arsenal, continuing his run of starts in Mikel Arteta’s rejuvenated team and repaying his manager’s faith with an assist for fellow academy graduate Bukayo Saka.

It was just his seventh Premier League game and yet he already looks at home among football’s elite, and Neville was particularly impressed with his Smith Rowe’s composure when travelling with the ball at his feet.

“You watch Emile Smith Rowe play and I agree with Jamie [Carragher], you watch a lot of young players play football – particularly ones in attacking areas – and they look frantic,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

“The choices are usually erratic, they don’t normally get it right, he does. He doesn’t run with the ball, he glides with the ball, he travels with it.

“He’s always at a point with it when he looks like he can release it and the real best players travel with the ball, but are always in a position where they can release it at the right moment

“A lot of young players run with it and then have to look up and then they have to stop and then the moment is gone. He’s not, he’s connected, he’s clever.”

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“He’s an Arsenal player that actually…and this is a big compliment to Arsene Wenger in how it impacted my mind as an opposition player for many years. The brilliant players like Robert Pires, they were so clever and intelligent.

“He could have played in old Arsenal teams the way he plays. I know he’s only played six games, yet he looks so experienced.”

Smith Rowe told Sky Sports afterwards: “We enjoyed that so much, we’re coming together as a team so we’re really happy with the win and the three points.

“Everyone’s getting fit and we’re all getting together on the training pitch. Just the whole group is so much stronger and I think it’s showing on the pitch.”

This was a fifth successive Premier League start for the youngster, who said: “I’ve been a bit unfortunate with injuries but the manager has given me a chance and I’m so grateful, I just hope to repay him.

“Every opportunity I’m getting I just want to show him that I’m good enough to be in this team.”

Smith Rowe is one of a number of young players coming through the ranks alongside the likes of Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Willock.

Smith Rowe added: “We’ve all played together from a young age. Gabriel Martinelli came from abroad but to be on the pitch together with all the young boys, it’s a dream for us. From a young age we’ve already had that link-up so when we get onto the pitch it shows how good we play with each other.”

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