Emile Smith Rowe was one of the youngsters Unai Emery promoted to the first team during his time at Arsenal.
The 20-year-old was initially restricted to appearances in the cup competitions and the Europa League, which is why he had loan spells at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Former Arsenal academy coach Andries Jonker knows the 20-year-old first hand, having managed him during his time in north London. The Dutchman stated it was the player’s family who wanted ESR to continue his development away from the Gunners.
“I remember his father telling me that it would be good for the development of his personality to go abroad,” Jonker told TV2.
“So, I was not surprised when he went to Leipzig on loan. He is a down-to-earth type who does not allow himself to be distracted by peripheral things. He is simply a good boy to work with.”
The struggles of other first team players saw Mikel Arteta hand the England U20 international opportunities in the Premier League this season.
Emile Smith Rowe impressed on his league debut as Arsenal defeated Chelsea on Boxing Day. Since then, he has largely retained his place in the side.
Jonker, who’s now the technical director at SC Telstar, reveals there wasn’t expectation for the player to shine at Arsenal, which is why he is impressed with his development at the north London club.
“He was always motivated and dedicated as an academy player. He has always been very stable with his performances,” Jonker explained.
“We definitely thought he could have a career in football, but I don’t think many predicted that he would get in the first team of Arsenal.
“He was a talent with a solid head, but he was never looked like the greatest talent in the academy. I’m very proud of what he’s achieving at the moment because he’s really put in all the work himself. He was someone you could trust, someone who was rarely injured.”