Emile Smith Rowe is still awaiting his debut for RB Leipzig as he works his way back from injury. - © imago images / Picture Point LE
Emile Smith Rowe is still awaiting his debut for RB Leipzig as he works his way back from injury. - © imago images / Picture Point LE

RB Leipzig's Emile Smith Rowe: "I just can't wait to get fit and play"


English teenager Emile Smith Rowe says he is champing at the bit to make his Bundesliga debut for RB Leipzig, as he continues to recover from the groin injury that has kept him out of action since his arrival from Arsenal.

The 18-year-old switched to Saxony on a six-month loan deal in January, following in the footsteps of several English youngsters who have come to Germany in search of precious playing time and on-field development. After watching the likes of Jadon Sancho, Ademola Lookman and Gunners teammate Reiss Nelson come and improve in the Bundesliga, the highly rated attacking midfielder also decided to take the plunge and move abroad.

"The Bundesliga is a really good league," Smith Rowe told Arsenal's official YouTube channel. "There are a lot of good players here and big teams as well. It's like the Premier League really. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig, Hoffenheim, Schalke – all big teams, all Champions League teams really. I think it's a great opportunity."

Emile Smith Rowe (l.) has built a friendship with fellow RB Leipzig newcomer and English speaker Tyler Adams (r.) of the USA. - imago

However, the England U19 international has yet to make the most of that opportunity, having been sidelined by a groin injury suffered in training with Arsenal in December.

As he works his way back to full fitness – head coach Ralf Rangnick is hopeful he will return to team training in early April – Smith Rowe has been attending Leipzig's league outings, which has fuelled his desire to experience the Bundesliga's world-famous atmospheres from the best possible vantage point: the pitch.

"I can't wait to play in front of the fans," he admitted. "I think it will be really good. Obviously the stadium is really big and it's a great atmosphere. When I first went to one of the games, the fans were just always singing. Obviously that happens at Arsenal as well, but over here it's just crazy."

Emile Smith Rowe (l.) met up with Arsenal teammate Reiss Nelson (r.) when RB Leipzig hosted Hoffenhiem on Matchday 23. - imago/Jan Huebner

Smith Rowe was part of the England squad that won the U17 World Cup in India two years ago, alongside Sancho. And seeing his Young Lions teammate become a first-team regular at Dortmund and one of the star performers of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season – not to mention a fully fledged international – inspired him to try his luck in Leipzig.

"I think it's definitely a big step at such a young age, but I think that's a great experience," he explained. "Seeing Reiss and other young players take the step, obviously doing well and enjoying themselves, that has really boosted my confidence.

"It really gave me the impression that this was something I wanted to do and I obviously took the risk. I just can't wait to get fit and play."