Emile Smith Rowe is feeling fresh, fit and ready to prove his worth at Arsenal after a “really tough”, injury-interrupted season.
The academy graduate came through the ranks in north London and, having established himself as an exciting performer under Mikel Arteta, was rewarded with a new long-term deal two years ago.
Smith Rowe made his senior England debut later in 2021 but things went awry last term.
The 22-year-old underwent groin surgery to rectify an issue that has been plaguing him since a loan spell at RB Leipzig in 2019, restricting him to 14 club appearances and no starts.
“I am feeling good, it’s good to be back with the boys, back on the pitch with my team-mates,” the 22-year-old attacking midfielder said.
“My ambition is to get some more minutes this season and really push on.
“Last year was really hard for me, so I just want to kick on now and prove that I can play for this club.
“It was really tough because I had surgery twice, so it was really hard.
“But my family, friends and the club helped me a lot to get through it. I’m just really happy to be pain free right now and get fit.
“This was my first time having surgery, so it was a really hard decision to take but I went for it.
“I’m happy that I don’t feel anything there anymore. I am really happy to be fully fit now.”
Smith Rowe, who came on in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Manchester United in New Jersey, is also buoyed by his starting role in England’s Under-21 European Championship final win against Spain.
It was, he says, an “amazing experience” to triumph in Georgia – success that will only add to his hunger for silverware as Arsenal look to build on last season’s Premier League runners-up spot.
“I am at a big club at Arsenal,” Smith Rowe said. “If I didn’t have competition, there wouldn’t be no point.
“I have to push myself every day in training, keep working hard.
“It’s tough competition but it’s good at the same time. I need to keep working hard and believing in myself.
“We’re very ambitious, we want to win trophies. We’re back in Champions League, which is good for the club so really ambitious for us and I want to push on now.
“There’s definitely a lot of confidence going into the new season.
“We’re a young team as well, so to get that far last season was really good from us.
“But, of course, we want to win trophies, so we are going to definitely try and be stronger this year and take it a step further.”