Mikel Arteta sends message to Aston Villa target Emile Smith Rowe after friendly defeat to Hibernian

Hibernian v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly

Emile Smith Rowe scored in Arsenal’s friendly defeat (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says Emile Smith Rowe needs to get ‘better at’ scoring goals and putting himself in scoring positions.

The 20-year-old scored in the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat to Hibernian on Tuesday night, in what was the side’s first match of their pre-season.

Smith Rowe has been heavily linked with a move to Aston Villa, with Arsenal rejecting two bids of £25m and £30m from the Midlands club for the midfielder.

Arsenal are keen to keep the playmaker but Arteta says he must improve his goalscoring in the future.

Hibernian v Arsenal: Pre-Season Friendly

Smith Rowe is a target for Aston Villa (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

‘He knows that it is a part of the game he needs to get better at,’ said Arteta.

‘We are working on it a lot and you could see the positions that he took today. He created two or three big chances.’

Arsenal were understandably rusty in Edinburgh as they put in a below-par display to kick off their pre-season campaign.

Arteta admits he was disappointed to lose but insists this is the purpose of friendlies and a pre-season.

‘Well I’m always disappointed when we lose a football match but it is the first game, we played with many kids and we only had four training sessions,’ said Arteta.

‘We’ve trained really hard and you could see that the players were a little bit leggy. I think we conceded the first goal, an accident, and the second goal was clearly offside. We created many, many chances but we didn’t score.

‘That’s what pre-season is for, to take the things that we haven’t done well into a training session and then improve.’

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