Arsenal attacker Emile Smith Rowe says he feels like a new man and is ready to ‘just go for it’ after marking his first start for the club in 499 days against Brentford.
The 23-year-old completed 82 minutes on his 100th appearance for the club as they booked a place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 win over the Bees.
Smith Rowe’s previous start for Arsenal came in a Premier League defeat to Newcastle on 16 May 2022 having suffered a number of injuries last term.
He underwent surgery to overcome a long standing groin problem last september but suffered a setback on his return four months later before making eight appearances off the bench at the back end of last season.
The Arsenal No 10 says he previously suffered confidence issues but feels strong with the new mentality he has adopted.
Emile Smith Rowe made his first start in 499 days against Brentford in the Carabao Cup
The Arsenal No 10 says he previously suffered confidence issues but feels strong now
Your browser does not support iframes.
Smith Rowe said: ‘I have changed a bit of my mentality … just to go for it,’ Smith Rowe said. ‘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.
‘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.
‘I tried to support the boys as much as I could when I couldn’t help them on the pitch. It was really tough but I am stronger now.’
Smith Rowe made his first appearance of the season against PSV in the Champions League last week and received an outstanding reception from fans as he made his way onto the pitch in the 69th minute.
‘When I heard that in the Champions League, it was a really proud moment for me and my family,’ he said.
‘It has been hard sometimes not coming on and sometimes [you are] disappointed, but this is life, this is football. You have got to keep going.’