GARY NEVILLE has waxed lyrical over Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe as he likened the youngster to Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Manchester United legend believes the 21-year-old attacking midfielder is more ‘clinical’ and ‘ruthless’ than what Ronaldo was at his age.
Smith Rowe starred for the Gunners in Friday night’s 3-1 win against Aston Villa as he chipped in with a goal and an assist.
The England youth international has featured in all nine Premier League games this term having become an influential player under Mikel Arteta.
And the ex-RB Leipzig loanee, who was handed the iconic No10 jersey in the summer, has shown he is mature beyond his years.
His dazzling displays have caught the eye of Neville, who told Sky Sports: “Cristiano was the first person I ever heard to say he undoubtedly wanted to be the best player in the world.
“It’s quite unusual to hear a player [say that], because everybody talks about the team and the collective.
“To hear Mo Salah say it is refreshing. I think you can say these things when you are delivering, and these two have delivered now consistently.
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“Ronaldo now for 10, 15 years and Mo Salah for five, six years, and beyond. They are absolutely deadly. They are ruthless and clinical.
“Everything that Smith Rowe [wants to be], he’s a beautiful footballer and he’s got a long way to go in his career. Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t as clinical and ruthless at that age.
“But that’s where he has got to get to. To the point where by every single game, they want to be the best. They want to score the winner.
“They believe they are going to score the winner. Confidence is unbelievable.”
Smith Rowe, who has five goal contributions from his ten outings this term, has revealed he wishes to stay at the Emirates for the entirety of his career.
In an interview with the Standard, the Hale End graduate was asked whether he could see himself being a one-club man.
To which he said: “I hope so, I definitely hope so. If Arsenal want me for the rest of my career, then I am going to stay here forever.
“It is always difficult [to stay at one club for your career], but for me personally I’d love to be here forever.
“For me it was easy [to sign a new contract with Arsenal]. Obviously it didn’t look like that from the outside, it looked quite difficult.
“For me, playing for Arsenal, growing up an Arsenal fan and my family around me, it was easy. Growing up in London, I didn’t want to move out of London. It was probably one of the easiest decisions I’ve made.”