Let’s Be Patient With Smith–Rowe by Dan Smith
As someone who coached his international team (and failed), you would think Gary Neville would know the dangers of putting too much pressure on a youngster.
Yet that’s what he did on Sky Sports, saying Emile Smith-Rowe could have played in Arsene Wenger’s title winning sides, and comparing him to Robert Pires.
The 20-year-old has made 7 League appearances as a Gunner in two years. He’s yet to score and has three assists.
Since Xmas, he has brought creativity to our play (which wasn’t hard to do) and looked impressive. What he needs now is time and patience to develop his talent.
There are so many examples of youngsters rewarded for doing the bare minimum, who failed to handle so much fame and attention.
As part of Man United’s famed 93 youth team, Neville should know as much as any ex-pro about protecting those who are promoted from the academy. Outside of David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson made it a priority to keep the likes of Scholes, Giggs and the Neville brothers away from interviews, wrong agents, etc.
Mike Arteta’s task now is to ensure that Smith-Rowe doesn’t listen to opinions from pundits and let it go to his head. It’s hard enough to handle the pressure of being Ozil’s replacement without being compared to one of the greatest players in our history.
It’s becoming a tradition at Arsenal to over-rate a youngster without them achieving anything.
Ian Wright was guilty of that in his own analysis or our Newcastle win, suggesting senior players have been shown up by those less experienced.
We have made the worst start to a campaign in the Prem era. Before that we finished in our worst League position in 25 years, so let’s not make out anyone has broken through like a teenage Owen, Rooney or Fabregas.
Out of the batch of kids given a chance in the last few years only Saka has shown any consistency.
Playing well against West Bromwich, Brighton and Newcastle (three of the worst sides in the division) is way too early to judge Smith Rowe.
Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson have had numerous opportunities to prove they belong at this level.
In the League, all Eddie Nketiah does is come off the bench, run into a defender and fall over. You could count on one hand how many great games Maitland Niles has had in 3 years.
I say it all the time. It is only when we realise the problems can we find solutions. We have to accept how far we have fallen.
I think there is a section of our fanbase so desperate they try to convince themselves players are better than they are.
Smith Rowe is at an age where there will be inconsistencies. To give him the best chance of fulfilling his potential we need to take away any pressure that is not needed at this time.
It’s also educating a next generation of gooners wrongly. Those not old enough to watch Pires in the flesh should not be misled to think anyone in our current squad are anywhere near that level.
How disrespectful to legends of this club and everything they achieved to think that making a few goals against those near the bottom of the table compares to what Robert Pires achieved. You have to be special to get anywhere near what the class of 2001-06 did. A pundit making those comparisons does zero favours to our players or fans.
This is one of the worst Arsenal squads in my lifetime. Pretending anyone in our current set up is close to a Pires is misleading.
Being creative in a team that is 10th in the League is like being a big fish in a small pond in comparison to the teams Pires represented.
Smith Rowe could turn out to be great but let’s just take little steps first. Maybe wait for him to score a League goal first before we compare him to one of the greatest in our history.
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