Former Liverpool man Steve McManaman has suggested that Arsenal starlet Emile Smith Rowe “doesn’t deserve” to start at the moment.
The 21-year-old has been a standout player for the Gunners over the past couple of years.
Along with Bukayo Saka, he has been a shining light and Mikel Arteta has heavily relied upon him.
Smith Rowe has been in good form this season as he has been involved in nine goals from his 16 Premier League games.
The Englishman has been on the bench for their last three league outings though. He has scored in back to back games as he made late cameo appearances against West Ham and Leeds.
He is being kept out by Martin Odegaard, who is performing brilliantly for Arsenal.
As quoted by the Express, McManaman has claimed that Smith Rowe “doesn’t deserve” to start currently:
“Martinelli is undroppable at the moment. His place is not in any doubt,” McManaman said.
“To be honest, all of them that are playing and starting at the moment, their place is set in stone isn’t it. That’s Arsenal’s best XI there that we saw today.
“Whether you have Smith Rowe or Odegaard but Odegaard is certainly playing well enough.
“If that starting XI is fit and well, they roll again on Boxing Day against Norwich and you’d fully expect them to go again and beat Norwich. Then they’ve got Wolves, let’s go again at home.
“So this is a really interesting time to see if he can keep them all happy, keep them all fit.
“But they’re in a real good moment aren’t they. They’re four points clear of West Ham.
“Three days ago they were behind West Ham – they’ve suddenly gone four points clear of them. They’re playing really well.”
On Smith Rowe, he added: “He’s not playing Smith Rowe for the time being, yet he came on the other day and made an impact, he’s come on again to make an impact, and that’s a really good sign.
“He doesn’t deserve to play in the next game but he knows he’s there, he’s doing the right thing, his attitude must be spot on, he’s scoring goals, and he’s one you can trust.”