MIKEL ARTETA reckons Emile Smith Rowe is reaping the rewards on the field for changing how he lives off it.
The Arsenal boss hailed homegrown hero Smith Rowe as “superb” following his man-of-the-match display in Friday night’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
After the rookie attacking midfielder, 21, added another goal and assist to his impressive start to this season, Arteta said: “That should be a habit and he should demand that in his game, because he’s capable of doing it.
“I’m really pleased that he’s now developing that. But he still needs to develop more in other areas.
“The other night against Crystal Palace he wasn’t 100 per cent fit but he made a step forward and wanted to play with a difficult injury that he had.
“He wasn’t complaining – he was just looking forward.
“Emile’s changed the way that he’s living a little bit as well and some habits that he had.
“When you want to take your game to the next level, when you become a really important player in such a big club, that should become the only priority and every detail is important and relevant.
“You have to make them aware of that – you cannot give percentages away that can make big differences.
“He’s changed that and credit to him and the staff here that are monitoring and trying to build that education with him. It will get only better.”
Spaniard Arteta did not clarify exactly what Smith Rowe had changed.
But if it is something to do with his diet and lifestyle, then the England Under-21 international looked as fit as a butcher’s dog on Friday night.
The graduate of Arsenal’s Hale End Academy, with his socks rolled down and the No 10 across his back, showed just why Villa tried so hard to sign him in the summer.
Boss Dean Smith wanted him to replace talisman Jack Grealish.
But Arteta said: “It’s a perfect example of why we want to keep him.
“Why we are now giving him the opportunity to do what he can do for our club and we are happy with him. He’s just been superb.”
Arteta was also delighted with how the home crowd roared his team to victory at the Emirates.
The Gunners chief said: “I think the chemistry is there. I think the connection is getting stronger and stronger and I think they are all enjoying what they have to do.
“The fans are a part of our team – a big part of our team.
“When there are moments where our stadium lifts, our level lifts. Our energy lifts, our belief, our confidence. I think they were terrific again for us.”
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