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Huddersfield boss explains his Emile Smith Rowe decision amid fans’ surprise over Arsenal loanee

Huddersfield Town manager Danny Cowley has admitted it was a “horrible substitution” to make to take off Arsenal loanee Emile Smith Rowe during the 3-0 defeat against Cardiff City.

Smith Rowe was brought off 15 minutes from time at the John Smith’s Stadium, with his former Arsenal team-mate Chris Willock replacing him.

The Terriers were 3-0 down at the time, with goals from Josh Murphy, Will Vaulks and Callum Paterson helping Neil Harris’ team to a big win in the race to reach the play-offs in the Championship.

But Cowley’s decision was one that left some Huddersfield fans bewildered, after Smith Rowe had been a threat for the Terriers during the game, continuing his fine form since making the loan move in January.

This was Smith Rowe’s fifth appearance for Huddersfield, with the Arsenal loanee scoring one goal so far and impressing with his performances.

However, Cowley said that Huddersfield need to look after the 19-year-old, with the Terriers boss adding that it was not a substitution he wanted to make.

“He is a young boy in his first three-game week in the Championship,” he said, as quoted by Examiner Live.

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“And he is precious to us. Don’t think I want to bring him off, but I have to be disciplined and professional in that moment.

“It’s a horrible sub to make because you know everybody is going to be critical of it, but he is a young boy and a very important player to us and we need to make sure we are very gradual and progressive with the way we manage his load.

“So that is, ultimately, why I made the decision.”