Arsenal star sends ‘nothing to lose’ message to Mikel Arteta
Smith Rowe featured from the outset of the 1-0 EFL Cup win over Brentford on Wednesday, incredibly his first start for the Gunners in 499 days.
It was the 23-year-old’s landmark 100th appearance for the club yet he has only made 19 since May 2022. Groin surgery a year ago stalled his progress and upon his return he found himself picking up only minutes off the bench. This has led to speculation he might move to Chelsea, though he remains at the club.
That trend has continued into the 2023/24 season, although Smith Rowe clearly has the attitude for a fight.
“I have changed my mentality a bit: just to go for it,” he explained via the Evening Standard. “I have not really got anything to lose.
“I have tried to change that inside me. I used to have a lot of doubts. I used to question my confidence at times. But now I am really strong, I am feeling really fit and I am taking that into now.
“I have just got to keep going, keep believing, and I am sure the chances will come.
“It was a really tough period — having surgery for the first time and then having another setback once I got back on to the pitch. But this is football, you have got to face these challenges, you have ups and downs. I feel like I am a lot stronger and fitter now.”
Mental strength key – Smith Rowe
Smith Rowe, who is under contract until 2026, has welcomed the tests that being in Arteta’s squad brings.
“Being at a massive club like Arsenal, we know there is so much competition,” added Smith Rowe. “It is always going to be challenging, it is always going to be difficult to cement your place in the team. I have just got to keep believing in myself.
“Coming back and not quite getting back into the team, I have had to stay strong in my head and try to stay as positive as I can.
“I think the gaffer has really helped me with that. He was helping me through my injury and often pulled me for chats about how I can be mentally stronger, stuff like that.”
With Arsenal fighting on four fronts this season, including the Champions League, more opportunities will surely arise for the England international to prove himself.