The England youth international scored a fabulous solo goal against the Europa League holders in Singapore on Thursday
Emile Smith-Rowe has caught the eye at Arsenal after a series of good performances during pre-season.
That’s according to new head coach Unai Emery, who watched the 17-year-old shine against Atletico Madrid in Singapore.
The England youth international (who helped the Three Lions win the Under-17 World Cup in October) scored Arsenal’s equalizer in a 1-1 friendly draw against Atletico Thursday – with the LaLiga side going on to win the resulting penalty shoot-out 3-1.
Smith-Rowe, 17, could make the step up into the first-team picture at the Emirates Stadium in the forthcoming season and Emery, who replaced Arsene Wenger in May, has been impressed by what he has seen from the youngster so far.
“Today I am very happy with his work on the pitch, but not only today,” Emery said after the International Champions Cup game.
“It’s everyday. He’s starting today’s match because his performances have been good in every training session.
“He is 17 years old but he has grown up in the academy and we need to give the young players the opportunity to work with us every day and play matches like today. They are working hard in training to be involved with the first team.”
Fans were quick to rave about the teen starlet after his performance, but this is not the first time he has caught the eye during pre-season.
Having played a part in the 8-0 win at Boreham Wood last weekend, Smith-Rowe took his place in a fairly experienced Arsenal side, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all starting.
But it was Atletico, who beat Arsenal in last season’s Europa League semi-final en route to lifting the trophy, whose young side took the lead when Luciano Vietto headed them in front.
Smith Rowe equalised with a well-taken solo strike to leave Emery happy with his side’s overall display – even if they failed from the spot in the penalty shoot-out.
“I think this is the moment for the young players to show quality like Emile did,” he added.
“Historically, Arsenal have worked with young players to give them the chance to work with the first team, for them to show their quality in each match.
“Today I think that every player played well in this game, against a big team. For Smith Rowe to score is very good for him and the team. What’s important for us is that every young player is working very hard.”
Next up for Arsenal is another International Champions Cup game in Singapore on Saturday, this time against Emery’s former club Paris St Germain.