Arsenal teenage star Emile Smith-Rowe set to be included in squad for clash with Manchester United
Arsenal teenage star Emile Smith-Rowe set to be included in squad for clash with Manchester United

17-year-old Arsenal academy product Emile Smith-Rowe is set to be included in Arsene Wenger's 18 man squad for their trip to Manchester United on Sunday, sources close to the player claim. 

Smith-Rowe featured in Arsenal U18s FA Youth Cup final first leg defeat against Chelsea on Friday night, but was withdrawn just after the hour mark despite being one of the best players on the pitch. 

The creative midfielder's substitution looked to have been down to tactical reasons but his withdrawal may have been due to him actually having to travel with the first team squad this weekend. 

Arsenal set to rest key players

The Gunners' Premier League encounter with Man United falls right in the middle of their two Europa League semi-final legs with Atletico Madrid and therefore there could be a number of first team players rested this weekend with their European exploits in mind.

Arsenal's Premier League season is essentially all but done, with the North London club unable to qualify for the Champions League via league position, sitting outside the top four in sixth position. 

Therefore Smith-Rowe's inclusion in the squad may not come as a surprise to many. Arsenal's squad could include a number of academy players, with the likes of Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock having started in league games in previous weeks. 

A talented individual

Smith-Rowe was a part of the England side that won the U17 World Cup last summer and has drawn comparisons to current Arsenal player Jack Wilshere for his ability to drive forward with the ball. 

An attacking midfielder, Smith-Rowe has earned plaudits and caught the eye for Arsenal U18s on their run to the FA Youth Cup final. In the semi-final second leg against Blackpool he was particularly impressive, embarking on a mazy run beating several Tangerine players before being brought down for a penalty which he consequently scored.

Although the young Gunners lost the first leg of the final 3-1 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Smith-Rowe was able to play a key part in Arsenal's solitary goal. He collected the ball just inside the Blues half, managed to turn and then play an inch perfect pass into the path of Xavier Amaechi, who gave Arsenal the lead. 

Smith-Rowe is tipped for a bright future by many of the coaching staff at Arsenal, and this Sunday could just be the start for the teenager.