Martin Keown has urged Arsenal to keep supporting Mikel Arteta as the Spaniard rebuilds the team.
They made Arteta the club’s manager last season after trying to achieve quick success with Unai Emery.
The Arsenal team that the former midfielder inherited needed revamping after years of stagnancy under Arsene Wenger and the ill-fated reign of Emery.
Arteta won the FA Cup and the Community Shield within a year at the helm and Arsenal backed him in the last two transfer window to keep his team in the race for the European places.
However, the Gunners have been plagued by an inconsistency that has seen them struggle to get results.
But Martin Keown can see what he is trying to achieve and he has urged the Gunners to be patient with him and says the club is going through a rebuild and there is evidence that the Spaniard knows what he is doing.
‘It was a disastrous start to the season – 14 points from 14 games. They’ve lost 11 games already this season. We are in a rebuilding process,’ Keown told BT Sport via Mail Sport.
‘Now there is a nucleus of youngsters at Arsenal that they’re relying heavily on. There are some good players. We need to give them a chance. It’s about a respectable league position. You’re an Arsenal player, you’ve got to put a performance in.
‘I feel if Smith-Rowe was fit today, Odegaard would not be playing. It does point to the direction that the manager wants to go. He wants to play this total football style of play, with people who are really technically very gifted.
‘There’s no doubt he can do that, Odegaard. Today’s a really big opportunity for him to stamp his future on this football club. Real Madrid, I believe, want to take him back. Nonetheless, it’s a real opportunity for him to play the way that he feels he can. But Smith-Rowe, I didn’t want his route into the first team blocked.
‘They’ve got to start winning games. There’s some huge games coming up. He’ll be judged on where they finish in the league. Arsene Wenger managed to finish on 20 occasions in the top four. You need to start getting consistency.
‘There have been lots of changes at the football club. They need to support him (Arteta). He’s talking about controlling games and better decision making, we need to see that now.’