Published on 16 Jul 2022 10:51 am (UK Time)
Arsenal’s young star Emile Smith Rowe has earned his first call-up to England men’s senior squad following a scintillating run of form that has helped to catapult the Gunners up to 5th in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old attacking midfielder, a product of Arsenal’s academy system in Hale End, has lit up the Premier League this season following his breakthrough into the first-team last season under manager Mikel Arteta.
Smith-Rowe has come in for heaps of praise this season thanks to a spell of form that has given hope to Arsenal supporters everywhere, with the Croydon-born talent one of two academy products (alongside Bukayo Saka) to really inspire Gunners fans into believing in Arteta’s project – one that seemed like it was going nowhere previously.
With four goals and two assists in 11 games in the Premier League this season, Smith Rowe has proven his qualities and when the initial England squad was announced on Thursday afternoon, many were left wondering why Gareth Southgate had not called up one of the stars of the season.
But patience is a virtue and, with four senior players dropping out of the squad due to injury or illness, the darling of the Emirates has finally earned his maiden call-up.Embed from Getty Images
As a part of England’s youth setup, earning caps at each age group, Smith Rowe was part of the squad that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 and will now have the chance to impress on the global stage, with a view at earning a place in the 2022 World Cup squad.
Having been targeted extensively by now-departed Dean Smith’s Aston Villa all summer, the attacking midfield starlet signed a new long-term deal in North London which secured his future at Arsenal and handed him the number 10 shirt, previously worn by Mesut Ozil.
Earlier this season, following a Man of the Match display against the club who pursued him, former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher claimed: “He’ll get England caps, absolutely no doubt. I mentioned in commentary that it’s a nice problem for Gareth Southgate that we’ve got an abundance of great young attacking players now.
“Sometimes players just pop up and you can’t help but like them and I absolutely love that lad.
“To watch him in full flow with the ball… sometimes you say things in commentary and you think, ‘Did I really say that?’, and I think I said in commentary that he’s the best player I’ve seen in the Premier League running with the ball.
“You’re thinking, ‘Have I forgotten someone?’, but when I see him move it just excites me. Running with both feet, the pace he goes at, it’s just a joy to watch when he’s moving with the ball.”
The players to withdraw from the England squad are James Ward-Prowse, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount.
It remains to be seen whether others will be called up in place, but it is quite the compliment that Smith-Rowe has been selected ahead of the likes of Manchester United trio Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood.