Ian Wright has heaped praise on Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe after he scored the winning goal off the bench against Newcastle United.
The Gunners struggled against Newcastle in the FA Cup third round. They could not find a breakthrough in normal time as they were forced into extra-time.
Smith Rowe was brought on just short of the hour mark and he scored Arsenal’s all-important goal in the 109th minute.
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The forward looked to have been sent off before full time, but he was offered a reprieve by VAR. He made the most of this as he showed his class to put Arsenal ahead.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted with a couple of minutes to spare to make it 2-0. Arsenal are aiming to win the FA Cup for the second year running.
Wright told the BBC, as cited by GOAL, that Smith Rowe is a “top drawer” talent:
“He’s [Smith Rowe’s] quality. Top drawer. He is a real player. Absolutely delighted for him.
“It’s what he deserved. In the first half we weren’t getting enough midfield players joining and in the box and he’s someone who does that naturally in his game.
“He’s done well there. You want a calm, composed strike on target and he’s done that.
“He’s literally one of the only players we have in the squad who plays on the half-turn in there.
“He comes into that area of the pitch, we had [Granit] Xhaka and [Mohamed] Elneny and they’re deep, they need someone in the middle of the pitch to lay it into who can link with the midfield and the forwards.
“He’s the kind of person that wants the ball in there to progress it forward. That’s what we didn’t do in the first half and in the previous games to the ones we’ve won.”