Mikel Arteta proved right over Smith Rowe 'decision' as Arsenal star scores for England U21s
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Mikel Arteta's plan for Emile Smith Rowe looks to be underway after the Englishman scored his country's second goal against Czech Republic at the Under-21 European Championships on Thursday.
Smith Rowe endured an immensely unlucky campaign a the Emirates last season, in which he played little part in the Gunners' impressive title charge.
He suffered a groin injury in September during Arsenal's 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, and later had to undergo surgery.
Upon returning to fitness, the 22-year-old was unable to force his way back into the starting 11, with both Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order.
His lack of game time led to mass speculation regarding his future in north London, with Aston Villa reportedly among the clubs eyeing up a move for the midfielder.
However, a report from The Athletic soon put those rumours to bed, and Arteta is allegedly expecting Smith Rowe to play a key role for Arsenal next season.
Smith Rowe has since played an important part in England's opening match against Czech Republic, coming off the bench to double his side's advantage in stoppage time. And in doing so, he is putting Arteta's detailed plan into action.
Smith Rowe proving Arteta right
Speaking last month, transfer expert David Ornstein told The Athletic that the European Championships would be a crucial part of his reintegration into Arsenal's starting 11.
"The hope is he will be a key player for England at the Under-21 European Championship later this summer before returning to fitness and form next term," Ornstein revealed.
Despite the fact he did not start for Lee Carsley's side on Thursday evening, he is already delivering on the international stage and could well be handed a start against Israel on Sunday.
Fellow substitute Cameron Archer squared the ball to Smith Rowe in the penalty area who calmly tucked the ball home to put England top of Group C.