Mikel Arteta has revealed that Emile Smith Rowe asked to be given the No.10 shirt at Arsenal. The Gunners boss pointed out that the creative and talented 20-year-old "knows the consequences" of taking on an iconic jersey after having handed out a long term contract extension to the academy graduate.
Since breaking into the Arsenal main team last season, Emile Smith Rowe has been fabulous for the Arsenal, providing the much needed creative spark that has been missing in recent seasons. It has seen the highly-rated product from the Hale End academy system follow in the footsteps of Dennis Bergkamp, Robin van Persie and Mesut Ozil. Since breaking into the team, Smith Rowe has had 33 appearances across all competitions last season, with four goals recorded through those outings.
Smith Rowe has also committed to a new long-term contract, shutting down all uncertainty surrounding his future to a close, with Arteta now looking for a confident character to fulfil his potential and embrace a prominent position in an ambitious squad. Arteta has kickstarted the project rebuild at Arsenal and admitted that the young midfielder deserves his new contract and has earned right to pen a long-term deal with the number 10.
"I think he totally deserves that new contract, he has earned every right to be in the position where the club had to think about rewarding what he has done and he has shown his commitment to the football club. So when that relationship builds in the way that it is getting, that is a really strong and powerful message for everybody. We want and I want hungry, talented players who play with huge desire and Emile fits all of that," Arteta said, reported by Goal.
"If that is the case and you are on board and you show that commitment, desire, quality and talent every single day, you are at the right club at the right moment, and I think Emile feels the same way. He asked for the No.10 shirt, so that shows you the ambition and desire. I prefer players who ask for more than maybe they can take but if they believe they can do it, don’t put a limit on it. When he asked me and asked the club that he would like to get that number, okay, let’s go.
"We talked a little bit, we discussed it and he knows the consequences of that, but he feels prepared to do it and if he is prepared to do it, then I am going to be right behind him to try to make him as comfortable and as happy as possible to do what he wants to do," he added.