Arsenal head to Anfield to take on Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final and Emile Smith Rowe might not feature in the first XI.
The youngster started the season in fine form but in the past month, the 21-year-old has been in and out of the starting line-up. He’s played 18 Premier League games this season, out of which five appearances have come off the bench. And most of these substitute appearances have been in the past few weeks.
Many pundits and experts have speculated that Emile Smith Rowe has fallen down the pecking order at the club but his manager has made it clear that injuries have been the only reason why the youngster has failed to secure starting roles.
While talking to the press, Mikel Arteta said: “The reason why that happened is because he wasn’t fit. There was nothing else.
“His performances, when he’s been fit, have been extraordinary, the way he’s evolving, with the importance that he has in the team.
I still have major questions about Emile Smith Rowe's strengths and weaknesses. What is he? Seems like a free role player but only as a scorer. Struggles to create is not a heavy volume passer and a struggling defender.
Where are we going with this? What position even is this? pic.twitter.com/BIgtrqrjUc
— Mab Sidam (@MabSidam) January 12, 2022
“I think it’s without a doubt really, really positive, but he’s had an issue that he’s been carrying and obviously that’s been affecting his ability to train, his ability to compete, the amount of minutes that we can give him and we are trying to get that situation resolved as quickly as possible, because we need the best version of Emile for us to be successful.”
Will Emile Smith Rowe start against Liverpool?
Emile Smith Rowe is currently out with a groin injury and the manager has admitted that he is not a guaranteed starter for the Carabao Cup game as well.
Several reports have suggested that the midfielder will be back in the side on Thursday but Arteta has revealed that the doctors and the coaching staff will take a late call over his selection.
The manager will be hoping that Emile Smith Rowe is cleared to start since midfielders like Thomas Partey and Eleney are out for the AFCON while Granit Xhaka is on the sidelines – recovering from COVID. In such a scenario, the 21-year-old’s services are badly needed.