Former Arsenal player and club legend Laurens has praised Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe ahead of the Gunners’ Europa League clash against Villarreal.
Arsenal are struggling in the Premier League and will likely miss the European spot this season.
Laurens believes the Gunners need to win the Europa League, otherwise they could be left behind in the Premier League if they can’t secure Champions League football next season.
After their 1-0 defeat against Everton, Mikel Arteta’s team find themselves 10th in the championship. The glory of the Europa League remained their only realistic chance of securing a place in next season’s elite club competition.
However, Laurens was impressed with the performances of several young players at the club. He believes that a Europa League victory and a return to the Champions League next season would be ideal for their development.
He praised Saka as “absolutely brilliant” who doesn’t “rush his game”, while also suggesting that Smith-Rowe can play in any position.
Laurens said The mirror:
“Bukayo Saka is absolutely awesome. Emile Smith-Rowe can play any position, he plays simple, gives the right pass at the right time. Bukayo does not rush his game.
“But these two players and the other young players need other great players to realize their potential and they need the team to grow.”
Saka has been exceptional this season for the Gunners. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has scored seven goals in all competitions this season and has also recorded five assists.
Smith-Rowe has been equally impressive, and Arsenal plan to tie him to a long-term deal with the club.
In other news, check out the Villarreal vs Arsenal preview and planned rosters.