Arsenal’s young star Emile Smith Rowe says that both Chelsea and Tottenham had chances to sign him, but he ultimately chose to join the Gunners.
The 20-year-old has had a breakout season in the Arsenal first-team under Mikel Arteta, becoming a key part of the side in recent months.
Smith-Rowe’s form has earned him a call-up to the England Under-21s for the upcoming European Championships, and after winning a huge game against Tottenham last week, the attacker admits it is all going well for him at the moment – even if he didn’t quite find the back of the net with a stunning strike that cannoned back off the crossbar.
“I’m buzzing,” he told the Daily Mail. “As an Arsenal supporter you dream of playing in the north London derby and that was my first.
“I was unlucky not to get that goal. I rolled my foot over the ball then had a go. When the ball hit the crossbar, if you watch it back, I’d started celebrating. Oh mate, I thought I’d scored. Next one, though. Next one I’m going to score.
“You see these players on the pitch and it doesn’t feel like reality. It’s the first time I’m playing against Harry Kane, against Gareth Bale.
“At one point, Bale is marking me for a corner and I’m thinking, ‘This is crazy’. Growing up watching the north London derby, it’s the biggest game of Arsenal’s season. So to start, win and get man of the match — I got home and couldn’t believe it.”
Smith Rowe admitted that as a youngster, Chelsea turned down the opportunity to sign him, while he rejected Tottenham’s advances to sign the Gunners.
“My Dad’s a Tottenham fan,” Smith Rowe admitted. “My brother’s an Arsenal fan, thankfully, so I followed him! When I got home, I had a joke with my Dad, but obviously he was buzzing for me.
By signing up for our Arsenal newsletter, you will receive a once-daily email, focused around goings-on at Emirates Stadium.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Gunners – you’ll get all you need to know directly into your inbox.
We’ll also send out special newsletters with any big breaking news too.
And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Arsenal section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
“I grew up in an area that should be more Crystal Palace than anything else, but I was an Arsenal fan.
“I trialled at Chelsea and didn’t get in. Something about me not being big enough, I’ve heard. But Arsenal found out and picked me up.
“They were flexible, too. They knew I lived far away and told me to come in when I could. Tottenham showed interest but I stood by Arsenal. They’re my club.”