'He's precious': Manager explains why he made 'horrible' decision about Arsenal loanee

A general view outside the Emirates Stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League group F match between Arsenal FC and Vitoria Guimaraes at Emirates Stadium on October 24, 2019 in London, United...

Premier League giants Arsenal loaned Emile Smith-Rowe out to Championship strugglers Huddersfield Town and he has made an impact in Yorkshire.

Emile Smith-Rowe of Huddersfield Town during the Sky Bet Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City at John Smith's Stadium on February 12, 2020 in Huddersfield, England.

Arsenal loanee Emile Smith-Rowe was hauled off in the second half as Huddersfield Town suffered a humbling home defeat to Cardiff City on Wednesday, with Terriers boss Danny Cowley admitting to the Examiner that it was a 'horrible' decision he had no choice but to make.

The 19-year-old winger only moved to West Yorkshire in January but he has already established himself as a fan favourite at the John Smith’s Stadium.

And Smith-Rowe, who has already produced a goal and an assist in Huddersfield colours, was one of the few players to emerge out of a punishing loss against Cardiff with any credit.

 

He was a constant threat throughout so no wonder there was a look of bewilderment on the faces of many a home supporter when the teenager was hooked with 15 minutes to go.

Cowley, however, insists that it was a decision borne out of necessity rather than desire.

“He is a young boy in his first three-game week in the Championship. And he is precious to us. Don't think I want to bring him off, but I have to be disciplined and professional in that moment,” said the former Lincoln City boss, who is back in relegation danger after a superb start to life at Huddersfield disintegrated.

Chris Willock and Emile Smith Rowe of Huddersfield Town during the Sky Bet Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Queens Park Rangers at John Smith's Stadium on February 08, 2020...

"It's a horrible sub to make because you know everybody is going to be critical of it, but he is a young boy and a very important player to us and we need to make sure we are very gradual and progressive with the way we manage his load.

"So that is, ultimately, why I made the decision."

Perhaps one day we could look back on Smith-Rowe’s spell at Huddersfield as a key point in his career, the moment when he progressed from a boy to a man – a la Jermaine Defoe at Bournemouth, David Beckham at Preston or Frank Lampard at Swansea.

With Mikel Arteta more than happy to give youth a chance, you can guarantee that Arsenal will be keeping a very close eye on Smith-Rowe’s progress up north.

Emile Smith-Rowe of Huddersfield Town during the Sky Bet Championship match between Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City at John Smith's Stadium on February 12, 2020 in Huddersfield, England.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch