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3 reasons Matt Smith could duplicate Bukayo Saka

Arsenal, Matt Smith (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has brought the kids to Arsenal’s first-team training, including Matt Smith. Here are three reasons Matt Smith could duplicate Bukayo Sako.

It takes something special to have a player go from a U18 outfit to a regular first-teamer in the span of a couple years. Arsenal had that happen with Bukayo Saka, who went from the U18s in 2018-19, to being a regular starter with the first-team in 2019-20. And Matt Smith may be knocking on the door to do the same.

Matt Smith spent last year with the U18s, putting together a 2018-19 season that was even better than Saka’s last year with the U18s. His five goals and 14 assists are a massive figure compared even to Saka’s impressive six goals, five assists in his breakout campaign.

And while no two journeys are ever the same—for instance, Saka is still only 18 and a first-team regular, while Smith is 19 without having made an appearance for the first team—Smith may be in a situation where he could replicate the impact that Saka made.

Matt Smtih can be Arsenal’s next Bukayo Saka

In fact, here are three reasons why Matt Smith is on the right path to do that right now, as he’s training with the senior squad under the watchful eye of Mikel Arteta.

3. The quick rise

There’s something about a rapid rise that makes a player so much stickier at the top than someone who slowly builds their way up. I think of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey as quick rises, and I think of Chuba Akpom on the other side.

Saka was a super quick rise, having just one season with the U23s before he was pulled up to the senior club, where he was starting in the early phases of the season under Unai Emery.

Matt Smith has elevated just as quickly. While Smith spent all of last season with the U18s, he’s been fighting his way into regular game time for the U23s, thus far making twelve appearances, and he’s already up with the first team shortly following.

It’s no guarantee that he sticks, but with the next two fellow contributing factors, it wouldn’t be that unbelievable if he did.

On to No. 2.

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