Emile Smith Rowe has outlined his ambition to emulate Arsenal's No. 10 legends Dennis Bergkamp and Mesut Ozil after penning a new deal at Emirates Stadium.
Smith Rowe was targeted by Aston Villa at the end of an impressive breakthrough 2020-21 campaign at Emirates Stadium, but brought an end to the speculation surrounding his future by penning fresh terms with the Gunners on Thursday.
The 20-year-old has also been handed the coveted No.10 jersey after agreeing to remain on Arsenal's books until 2026, and he is now eager to follow in the footsteps of two of his idols.
What's been said?
Smith Rowe grew up watching Bergkamp during a golden era for the Gunners before witnessing the unique creative talents of Ozil up close in north London, and he wants to make a similar impact for the club in the coming years.
"Everyone knows that No 10 is a big shirt and it is definitely a big position as well. So I’m buzzing to be honest, I can’t wait to get on the pitch," the England U21 international has told Arsenal's official website.
"It's really special - I can't explain the feeling when I found out. I've not really got the words to explain it right now! But yeah, I'm really happy.
"The legends that have played here and have worn the shirt... it's a bit too much right now but I'm sure I will calm down after a while!
"When I was younger I used to watch Dennis Bergkamp, and when I was going through the academy Mesut Ozil was here as well and getting the opportunity to train with him and play with him as well was unbelievable. I just want to keep working hard and hopefully, I can play like them and replicate what they've done."
The bigger picture
Bergkamp won 10 trophies at Arsenal between 1995 and 2006, including three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, while also scoring 111 goals.
Ozil, meanwhile, spent eight years at the Emirates before leaving the club earlier this year to join Fenerbahce, picking up four trophies himself and carving out a reputation as a master of assists by setting up 77 goals in 254 games.
Smith Rowe has a long way to go before he can match the exploits of either man, but he has been tipped to play a key role in Mikel Arteta's squad next season after a bright start to life in the first team.