Arsenal hero Ian Wright warns Mikel Arteta against making ‘Serge Gnabry mistake’

Emile Smith-Rowe shows off skills in training in 2018

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been warned he cannot afford to repeat the mistake Arsene Wenger made with Serge Gnabry with young playmaker Emile Smith Rowe. The young playmaker has looked impressive this season, and is set to play a key role in the coming months.

Arsenal youngster Smith-Rowe has burst onto the scene in recent weeks with some stellar performances for Arteta’s side.

The teen had spent the majority of the start of the campaign being used in the Europa League against weaker opposition, and didn’t play in the Premier League until Boxing Day.

When his chance came, however, he grabbed it with both hands and put in a storming display as Arsenal clocked a surprise 3-1 win over Chelsea.

Smith-Rowe played in a number ten role on that occasion, and provided an assist for Bukayo Saka’s goal, which made the scoreline 3-0 and put Arsenal out of sight.

His performance was strong enough to see him keep his place in the starting XI for games against Brighton and West Brom.

The youngster dubbed ‘The Croydon De Bruyne’ by his team-mates and fans alike has always been well-fancied within Arsenal, and was believed by many to be one of their best prospects in recent years.

But Arsenal hero Ian Wright is cautious that Arteta continues to use him in the right way, and explained on his podcast that he is concerned about the potential of him being undervalued.

He referenced Arsenal’s decision to let youngster Gnabry leave for Werder Bremen in 2016 after he was deemed to not be up to the club’s standard.

The German winger went on to sign for Bayern Munich the following year, and now has two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League to his name.

Arsenal are also facing criticism for their treatment of youngster Folarin Balogun, with the young hotshot striker set to depart for pastures new abroad after being unsatisfied with his lack of game time.

Wright explained that considering how well Smith-Rowe is performing, Arsenal run the risk of losing him if they don’t continue to support him with regular game time.

He told Wrighty’s House Podcast: “It must be brilliant going into training at the moment for someone like Emile Smith Rowe.

“He’s somebody who has had his injuries, he’s gone on loan, he’s done his stuff.

“For me, Smith Rowe has paid his dues out there, waiting for his chance.

“I think that what Mikel has done now, the timing with which he’s done it, is absolutely perfect because I think if Smith Rowe doesn’t get into this team, at this stage, and they carry on doing what they’re doing and persisting with people who are not performing at the levels they should – whether it’s Willian or Pepe – I think you lose him.

“Especially with January being here, and then we’ve got a Serge Gnabry on our hands.”

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