Smith Rowe made clear signal after scoring for Arsenal vs Villa

Emile Smith Rowe played a key role for Arsenal on Friday night as they dismantled Aston Villa at The Emirates.

The Gunners put Dean Smith’s team to the sword 3-1 and Smith Rowe – who was the subject of two failed Villa bids during the summer transfer window – netted the third goal of the game.

He also assisted Thomas Partey for Arsenal’s first goal and achieved the highest rating of any player on BBC Sport’s website, as voted for by supporters watching the match.

After the game Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insisted Smith Rowe’s star showings can be attributed to the 21-year-old’s hard work and dedication.

“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,” he said.

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“You have to make him aware of that, you cannot give percentages away that can make big differences and he has changed that.

“Credit to him and obviously the staff here that are all the time monitoring and building that education with him and he’ll only get better.

“He should demand that in his game because he is capable of doing it. I’m pleased that that is developing. He still needs to develop more in other areas as well.

“The other night he wasn’t 100 per cent fit but he stepped forward and he wanted to play with a difficult injury that he had.

“There is no complaining, he is just looking forwards, he is really determined, he has changed the way he is living as well a little bit and some of the habits that he had, and he’s been superb.”

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After making it 3-0 to Arsenal in the 56th minute Smith Rowe celebrated wildly in front of the Arsenal fans before grabbing the badge on his shirt and pointing to it, whilst shouting something to the crowd.

Villa’s interest in signing the playmaker ended in July when he agreed a new long-term contract with Arsenal, who treated the two bids – the second of which totalled £30million – with disdain.

Smith Rowe has since suggested he never had any intention of leaving his boyhood club and that it was ‘easy’ to sign a new deal.

He told the Evening Standard: “If Arsenal want me for the rest of my career, then I am going to stay here forever. It is always difficult [to stay at one club for your career], but for me personally I’d love to be here forever.

“For me it was easy [to sign a new contract with Arsenal]. Obviously it didn’t look like that from the outside, it looked quite difficult.

“For me, playing for Arsenal, growing up an Arsenal fan and my family around me, it was easy. Growing up in London, I didn’t want to move out of London. It was probably one of the easiest decisions I’ve made.”

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