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What is Smith Rowe’s best position for Arsenal? Arteta mulling over midfield, wing and striker roles

11:59 GMT 09/01/2023
Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal 2022-23
Arsenal are ready to welcome Emile Smith Rowe back from a long-term injury, but Mikel Arteta is still mulling over the 22-year-old’s best position.
  • England international out since September
  • Back in training & ready for recall
  • Manager presented with selection poser

WHAT HAPPENED? The creative playmaker, who is a product of the famed academy system at Emirates Stadium, has taken in 86 competitive appearances for the Gunners while earning three senior international caps for England. Smith Rowe has, however, been out of action since undergoing surgery to resolve a recurring groin problem in September 2022 and Arteta must now find a way of slotting him into a side that sits top of the Premier League table and boasts an abundance of attacking talent.

WHAT THEY SAID: Arteta has said of Smith Rowe and the roles that he could fill in Arsenal’s system: “We need him fit and at his best, and when we have that, we have an incredible player that we have missed a lot in the last few months. He can play as an attacking midfielder, as a winger and even as a nine; I think he’s played there before.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Smith Rowe, with 18 goals and nine assists for Arsenal to his name, has tended to be used as a central playmaker or a wide forward during his time as a first-team regular in north London.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR SMITH ROWE? Arteta may, however, decide to deploy him further forward during Gabriel Jesus’ injury-enforced absence – as Eddie Nketiah leads the line at present – with Arsenal set to be back in action on Monday when taking in a FA Cup third-round trip to League One side Oxford United.