Emile Smith Rowe has admitted that Tottenham Hotspur wanted to sign him as a youngster but he always had his heart set on joining Arsenal, having grown up supporting the club.
Smith Rowe has made a terrific impression since breaking into the Gunners side this season.
The 20-year-old has won Mikel Arteta’s trust and has been one of the club’s most potent attacking threats over the past few months.
The youngster was arguably the best player on the pitch in the North London derby earlier this month after he gave the likes of Matt Doherty a torrid time defensively.
Tottenham’s former head of elite potential identification David Webb revealed last week that the Lilywhites tried to snap up Smith Rowe as a 16-year-old as the club considered him to be a perfect fit for Mauricio Pochttino’s style of play.
The midfielder has now admitted that Spurs did show interest in him but insisted he never considered leaving his boyhood club.
He told The Daily Mail: “I grew up in an area that should be more Crystal Palace than anything else, but I was an Arsenal fan.
“I trialled at Chelsea and didn’t get in. Something about me not being big enough, I’ve heard. But Arsenal found out and picked me up.
“They were flexible, too. They knew I lived far away and told me to come in when I could.
“Tottenham showed interest but I stood by Arsenal. They’re my club.”
Smith Rowe also opened up on the experience of featuring in his first North London derby and vowed to find the back of the net the next time he faces Spurs after hitting the woodwork in Arsenal’s 2-1 win.
The Arsenal youngster said: “I’m buzzing! As an Arsenal supporter you dream of playing in the north London derby and that was my first.
“I was unlucky not to get that goal. I rolled my foot over the ball then had a go. When the ball hit the crossbar, if you watch it back, I’d started celebrating.
“Oh mate, I thought I’d scored. Next one, though. Next one I’m going to score.”
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