Soccer-Arsenal midfielder Smith Rowe signs long-term contract extension

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Arsenal - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - May 12, 2021 Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe celebrates scoring their first goal Pool via REUTERS/Shaun Botterill

(Reuters) - Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe has signed a new long-term contract with the club, the Premier League outfit announced on Thursday.

The academy graduate, who has been at Arsenal since he was nine, became a mainstay of manager Mikel Arteta's team last season and made 33 appearances in all competitions.

The 20-year old has been given the number 10 shirt following in the footsteps of players like Mesut Ozil and Dennis Bergkamp.

"When I was younger I used to watch Dennis Bergkamp, and when I was going through the academy Mesut Ozil was here as well and getting the opportunity to train with him and play with him as well was unbelievable," Smith Rowe told the club's website

"I just want to keep working hard and hopefully I can play like them and replicate what they've done."

Arsenal, who finished eighth last season, kick off the 2021-22 Premier League season at promoted Brentford on Aug. 13.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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