Arsenal youngster Emile Smith-Rowe has officially been promoted to Unai Emery’s first-team, according to football.london.
The youngster has just returned from a groin injury suffered last December during a training session with the Gunners (via The Sun).
The injury didn’t hamper a move to Bundesliga side Red Bull Leipzig, where he made just three appearances in the German top-flight (via Transfermarkt).
The 18-year-old has only recently come back from his injury, scoring for the under-23 side against Brighton and Hove Albion.
The promotion to the first-team comes amid a clearout of first-team stars at the Emirates Stadium this summer. Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were all let go in the summer transfer window.
The exits have seen many youngsters being promoted to the first-team, with Smith-Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock the beneficiaries. Gabriel Martinelli was also introduced into the first-team fold, following his move from Brazilian side Ituano (via Arsenal).
With the north London side resigned to a third consecutive season in the second-tier of European competition, Arsenal could use the depth in their squad. Promoting youth like Smith-Rowe ensures players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe can be rested during a long and arduous league season.
It’s abundantly clear after his form for the Gunners’ first-team last campaign, that Smith-Rowe deserves a chance. The 19-year-old impressed in the Europa League, scoring goals away to Qarabag and Vorskla.
Smith-Rowe’s attacking statistics in last season’s Europa League show the quality he possesses at his tender age. The attacker averaged the fourth-most dribbles and took the fifth-most shots of any player in the Arsenal side (via WhoScored).
With a long season ahead for Arsenal, squad depth is crucial to ensure that the same attacking stars don’t play every game. Smith-Rowe’s services will be required, and as he has shown he has the quality to make the difference when called upon.
Arsenal fans, do you think Smith-Rowe deserves to be promoted to the first-team? Join the discussion by letting us know your thoughts in the comments.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!