football

Arsenal legend Tony Adams rates Emile Smith Rowe more highly than Bukayo Saka


Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka are two of the brightest stars in Arsenal’s team (Picture: Getty Images)

Bukayo Saka might have beaten his teammate into the England set-up, but Tony Adams feels Emile Smith Rowe will go on to become the better player of the two Arsenal youngsters.

The pair have become integral members of the Gunners’ starting XI under Mikel Arteta, regularly outperforming their more experienced teammates.

Saka, 20, has already picked up 11 caps for England and starred in the run to the final of Euro 2020 over the summer, while Smith Rowe, 21, is still yet to earn his first cap for his country.

However, Arsenal icon Adams believes it is Smith Rowe who has the higher ceiling of the two players and will go on to be the better player of the two for the Gunners.

The former England captain came tantalisingly close to comparing Smith Rowe to another Arsenal legend in Dennis Bergkamp, but just held himself back.

‘They’re outstanding,’ Adams told Sky Sports of the two youngsters. ‘I actually think Emile is going to be a better player than Saka to be honest with you.

‘I think technically Emile… I used to play with Dennis Bergkamp, he does so much one touch play.

Saka and Smith Rowe have both come through the academy at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Listen, the guy [Bergkamp] has got a statue out there so I don’t want to put him up alongside Dennis.

‘The way, his football intelligence, he gets it and he’s seen it before it’s coming to him. One touch he plays is incredible.

‘And Saka is a fantastic boy, a great human being, lovely kid. But it shouldn’t be the kids leading this club, that’s the issue I’ve got.’

Saka and Smith Rowe look to have found their positions under Arteta, playing alongside Martin Odegaard in a three behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in recent weeks and looking impressive.

Arteta, who is now deploying a 4-2-3-1 with Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka in holding midfield, may have found the formula he has been looking for, with the two young Englishmen key parts of the plan.


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