Legendary former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is optimistic about Arsenal youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe, according to Metro.
19-year-old Saka and 20-year-old Smith-Rowe are both graduates of the Arsenal academy and have cemented their place in the first team in recent months. The Gunners were struggling to create goalscoring opportunities in the first half of the season and this led to a serious decline in both results and the quality of their performances.
Since the Gunners’ 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day, Smith-Rowe and Saka have become the leading lights of this Arsenal side. They are directly responsible for a significant increase in the creativity of the side and this has helped the Gunners rediscover their ability to score goals.
In the eleven Premier League games before their win against Chelsea, they scored a total of six goals. In their eleven most recent league games which goes all the way back to their victory over the Blues, the Gunners have scored 19 goals. A lot of the credit for this turnaround in attacking intensity is down to the likes of Saka and Smith-Rowe.
This season, Saka has scored six goals and provided five assists in 30 appearances across all competitions. During the same period, Smith-Rowe has scored two goals and provided six assists in 17 appearances across all competitions.
Wenger gave young players an abundance of opportunities during his time as Arsenal boss and is pleased to see that tradition being continued at the club. He stressed on the importance of staying fit and steering clear of long-term injuries during these crucial years of the youngsters’ careers.
On these two players, Wenger said:
“They [Smith Rowe and Saka] already were there when I was there a few years ago. We had always a good youth system, with good young players. It’s good to see that they come out.”
“We just spoke about injuries and touch wood that these players [don’t get long-term injuries]. It’s a sensitive part between [the ages of] 20-22 once they get game after game to see if their body can adapt and cope with it.”
“Lets hope. They look to me to have top quality and as well a good mentality so I am quite optimistic for them.”
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