Emile Smith Rowe warned he ‘doesn’t deserve’ to be in Arsenal team despite Leeds goal

Leeds United v Arsenal: Match in Pictures

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Emile Smith Rowe currently “doesn’t deserve” to be starting for Arsenal, according to Steve McManaman. Former Liverpool winger McManaman says the players currently playing ahead of Smith Rowe have shown no reason why they should be dropped. That is despite the England international being the Gunners’ leading goalscorer in the Premier League this season.

Smith Rowe scored off the bench for the second consecutive match as Arsenal beat Leeds United 4-1 on Saturday.

He has now netted seven times in 16 league outings this season.

Smith Rowe missed the defeat at Everton earlier this month due to injury but has only been named among the substitutes for the next three matches.

In the meantime, Gabriel Martinelli has taken his opportunity with both hands, scoring three goals in his last two appearances.

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Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard have also impressed, with Alexandre Lacazette being used as the centre-forward.

And McManaman says there is currently no way back in for Smith Rowe.

“[Martinelli’s] undroppable at the moment. His place is not in any doubt,” McManaman told Premier League Productions.

“To be honest, all of them that are playing and starting at the moment, their place is set in stone isn’t it. That’s Arsenal’s best XI there that we saw today.

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“Whether you have Smith Rowe or Odegaard but Odegaard is certainly playing well enough.

“If that starting XI is fit and well, they roll again on Boxing Day against Norwich and you’d fully expect them to go again and beat Norwich. Then they’ve got Wolves, let’s go again at home.

“So this is a really interesting time to see if he can keep them all happy, keep them all fit.

“But they’re in a real good moment aren’t they. They’re four points clear of West Ham.

“Three days ago they were behind West Ham – they’ve suddenly gone four points clear of them. They’re playing really well.”

McManaman went into more detail on Smith Rowe later in his analysis.

He says he is showing a great attitude even if he is frustrated at not starting matches.

McManaman added: “He’s not playing Smith Rowe for the time being, yet he came on the other day and made an impact, he’s come on again to make an impact, and that’s a really good sign.

“He doesn’t deserve to play in the next game but he knows he’s there, he’s doing the right thing, his attitude must be spot on, he’s scoring goals, and he’s one you can trust.”

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