By 90Min
December 14, 2018

Arsenal winger Emile Smith-Rowe has admitted he was pleased to hear that Barcelona were interested in his signature when he was younger, but leaving the Gunners as a 16-year-old was never on his mind.

Since Unai Emery's arrival in the summer, Smith-Rowe, now 18, has made his first-team breakthrough in the Europa League and domestic cup competitions, scoring three goals in six appearances.

It comes as a reward for his loyalty and commitment to Arsenal, who he has been with since he was nine, with Smith-Rowe telling Sky Sports that despite being flattered by Barcelona's interest, there has only ever been one club for him.

"I used to watch that Barcelona team, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, when they were in their prime," he said.

"So when I found out that they were interested of course I was very happy, but I can't explain to you how much I feel that Arsenal is the right club for me."

While he looks to have settled in on the pitch, however, Smith-Rowe admits he is still pinching himself about his involvement in the first-team alongside players like Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

"I'm just sitting there thinking, 'What is going on?'" he added.

"I look up to these players so much. To get a chance to be in the same dressing room as them - let alone on the same pitch - is unbelievable. I still feel like I'm in a dream.

"I was shocked that I even went away with the first-team in pre-season, so to get the chances that the manager has given me has just been great. 

Naomi Baker/GettyImages

"It's a bit surreal to think about the players he has worked with. Now he's there giving me advice. I'm grateful for what he has done for me. All I can do is just play really well for him and show him how good I am."

Smith-Rowe will now hope to continue his development with Premier League minutes, though he may have to bide his time before ousting some of Arsenal's more established stars.

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