Emery praises Smith Rowe after strong performance against Atletico Madrid
Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah

Arsenal Head Coach Unai Emery has praised midfielder Emile Smith Rowe’s performance after the International Champions Cup penalty shootout defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Strong start to pre season for the youngster

After Luciano Vietto gave the Spaniards’ a first half lead, the 17-year-old scored a fine equaliser for the Gunners, drifting past two defenders before curling home from outside the penalty area.

“Today I think that every player played well in this game, against a big team. For Smith Rowe to score is very good for him and the team,” Emery said.

"He is 17 years-old but he has grown up in the academy and we need to give the young players the opportunity to work with us every day and play matches like today.”

Along with this appearance, Emery also spoke highly of how Smith Rowe has started this pre-season.

“Today I am very happy with his work on the pitch, but not only today. It’s every day.

“He’s starting today’s match because his performances have been good in every training session.”

Captain material

Another player Arsenal’s Head Coach was asked about during his post-match interviews as Aaron Ramsey, who captained the team for the first hour of contest. The Welshman has been seen as a possible captain for Emery’s first season in charge.

“It’s not yet official, this decision, but I’ve said to you that I want five captains in the team. Then we will give the numbers for the first, second, third, fourth and fifth. Aaron has the potential to be captain."

Ramsey’s contract situation is also a hot topic at the moment, and when asked about it Emery said: “I think Aaron is an important player for us. The contract is one thing for the club and then one thing for the player.

“I want him to stay with us, to work with us, to give the team big performances with his quality. I think he’s going to stay here with us.”

More change at the top?

Emery was also asked about speculation linking Gunners Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis with a move to AC Milan.

“When I arrived here, the first meeting was with Ivan. For me, he’s a very good person, a very good professional and he has a lot of experience in the football world.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do because I only speak with him about the Arsenal project.”