Arsenal youngtser Emile Smith Rowe admits he was “very scared” after being sent off in the Gunners’ 2-0 extra-time victory over Newcastle United in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The 20-year-old was introduced just before the hour mark at the Emirates and grabbed the opener in the 109th minute with a smart finish into the bottom corner.
Smith Rowe had seen red at the end of normal time, but referee Chris Kavanagh was told by VAR to review the decision and after the pitchside monitor was used, the challenge on Sean Longstaff was deemed only worthy of a yellow card.
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“I was very scared at the time,” Smith Rowe said. “I’ve never been in this position before and I’ve never been sent off before so I couldn’t believe it. It definitely wasn’t intentional, so I’m just happy I didn’t get sent off and was able to come on.”
While boss Mikel Arteta also turned to other key players on the bench, it was the academy graduate who grabbed the headlines after the third-round tie having starred in the previous three games.
And Granit Xhaka was keen to praise the youngster following his performance against Newcastle.
Xhaka told Arsenal Media: “He’s a lovely guy, a very good guy who wants to improve, he listens to us experienced players a lot and he’s so important to us.
“You can see how many balls he recovers, how many key balls he plays at the front and for the front guys as well he’s so important.
“He has to keep going like this, to improve day-by-day but he has a good mentality and that’s very important as well.”