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How Town (Huddersfield) convinced Arsenal over Emile Smith Rowe (Interview with David Webb, Huddersfield head of operations) : Gunners

“With Emile, I knew him really well as a player from my time at Tottenham,”

“From the time he used to play with the Academy teams and the Under 23 teams you could see from a young age he was a special talent.”

“He started playing as a wide player and now he’s become an attacking No8 and No10.”

“At Tottenham we would have loved to have tried to sign him but, obviously we couldn’t because he was contracted to Arsenal, but when my former colleague went to Red Bull Leipzig, Paul Mitchell, he took him on loan there.”

“We already had a good understanding of Emile as a talent and he (Mitchell) got to know him personally as a player.”

“When we heard, during my time at Huddersfield, that he could potentially be available for loan, in conversations with Arsenal, we started the process and we went to meet Arsenal, myself and the manager (Danny Cowley).”

“We did a whole presentation of Huddersfield and how he would fit in, from a playing perspective, how we would look after him from a human perspective and how we would develop him as a player and as a person,”

“Also, we explained how we would get him as much game time as possible while he was physically fit.”

“We put our case forward, but we weren’t the only club at the door. There was a host of other Championship clubs and there were clubs from Germany, because he had had that experience from playing out there.”

“But I think because of the relationship with Arsenal, because I sort of knew them a little bit from previously, and what we were guaranteeing for the player – which wasn’t just all about football, it was the experience – and as talented as Emile is, and he is extremely talented as a player, we felt that exposure in the Championship, given where Huddersfield were, would bring out another side into his characteristics.”

“He would be in a team that was fighting, so as much as we wanted to bring out his talent we were also looking to bring out his character.”

“And, to be fair, we got that absolutely spot on because he was fantastic for the club and he showed other sides to his game that maybe sometimes, with young players, you never really get to see until they are exposed.”

“When you are in a dogfight in the Championship, and it’s physically demanding playing two games a week, more so than the Premier League, then you really get to see someone’s grit and determination, and that character combined to their football quality.”

“With Emile, the story really wrote itself on the last day when he scored the winning goal which probably kept Huddersfield in the league.”

“So from that perspective, the big players step up at the best times, and he showed not only his footballing qualities, but his character as well in that game, to keep calm and composed and to finish under that pressure for the club.”

“He is definitely a talent for Arsenal for the future, for sure. From a technical, and from an intelligence and playing perspective, in my opinion he is already a Premier League player – and we were very, very fortunate to have him with us for this loan period.”

“Thank God he was with us, because he scored that winning goal (against West Brom) that probably kept Huddersfield up.”

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