Granit Xhaka explains Emile Smith Rowe’s importance to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal

Emile Smith Rowe celebrates his winning goal for Arsenal against Newcastle United
Emile Smith Rowe celebrates his winning goal for Arsenal against Newcastle United (Picture: Getty)

Granit Xhaka has hailed Arsenal team-mate Emile Smith Rowe and explained why he is ‘so important’ to the Premier League club.

Smith Rowe, 20, came off the bench to help the Gunners beat Newcastle United 2-0 in their FA Cup third-round clash on Saturday evening.

The academy graduate had earlier received a red card but referee Chris Kavanagh was told by VAR to review the decision and downgraded the foul to a yellow card.

As well as impressing in the FA Cup, Smith Rowe has also starred in the Premier League recently and Xhaka says he is ‘so important’ to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

He told Arsenal’s official website: ‘He’s a lovely guy, a very good guy who wants to improve, he listens to us experienced players a lot and he’s so important to us.

‘You can see how many balls he recovers, how many key balls he plays at the front and for the front guys as well he’s so important.

‘He has to keep going like this, to improve day-by-day but he has a good mentality and that’s very important as well.’

Arteta, meanwhile, said Smith Rowe was ‘growing’ as an Arsenal player following his match-winning performance at Newcastle.

‘It means that we believe in him, that he’s playing really well, that he’s growing and becoming more and more important in the team,’ the Gunners boss said.

‘Today he showed that today with the way he came on, the personality he plays with.

‘We asked him to get into the box more and be more of a threat, and today he scored a really important goal for us.’

Arsenal have now won four successive matches and return to Premier League action on Thursday evening against Crystal Palace.

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