Mikel Arteta reveals the key reason behind Emile Smith Rowe's rapid improvement

Mikel Arteta was thrilled with Emile Smith Rowe’s man of the match display against Aston Villa last night and revealed the key reason behind the Arsenal star’s recent improvement.

The Hale End graduate shot to prominence midway through last season when an injury crisis and a terrible run of results prompted Arteta to promote the attacking midfielder into his starting XI.

Smith Rowe has hardly looked back since and is now among the first names on the team sheet with his seniority reflected by the new long-term contract he signed in the summer which was accompanied by the decision to hand him the coveted No.10 shirt.

The talented 21-year-old had been challenged add regular end product to his game and he has now scored four goals in all competitions this term following what turned out to be the decisive moment against Villa last night.

After the game Arteta was full of praise for the England Under-21 international who has been making changes to his lifestyle off the pitch in order to make marginal gains on it.

On Smith Rowe adding regular assists and goals to his game, the Arsenal boss said: ‘That should be a habit and he should demand that in his game, because he’s capable of doing it. I’m pleased he’s developing that.

‘He still needs to develop more in other areas. The other night he wasn’t 100 per cent fit but he made a step forward and wanted to play with a difficult injury that he had. He wasn’t complaining, he was just looking forward.

‘He’s changed the way he’s living a little bit as well, and some habits that he had. He’s been superb.

‘When you want to take the game to the next level, when you become a really important player in such a big club, that should be the only priority, and every detail is important and relevant.

‘You have to make them aware of that – you cannot give percentages away that can make big differences.

‘He’s changed that, and credit to him and the staff here that are monitoring and trying to build that education with him, and it will get only better.’

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