England boss discusses Emile Smith Rowe call-up as ‘very close’

Gareth Southgate announced his England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers next weekend, before holding a press conference on his decisions including naming Emile Smith Rowe as one who was under consideration.

The midfield roles are hotly contested at present, with a large number of attacking midfielders and wingers especially vying for limited spaces in the squad, but the boss has admitted that ESR was close to getting his call-up, especially after his performance against Spurs this weekend.

“He is a player we like a lot and he was very close to making this squad,” Southgate told the Standard.

“We have brought a lot of youngsters up and that’s not always straightforward.

“Sometimes you want to bring them with the seniors and then they need to go back with the Under-21s. At this moment in time, unless we need to, I don’t want to bring anymore players from the Under-21s. They have to earn that right over a longer period.

“This is a fairly settled squad. We know that some players aren’t playing as often as we would ideally like, but we’re only 6-7 games into the season.

“I’m trying to respect the squad that got us to the final, not make too many changes to that, make sure that young players really have to earn the right to come in.

“Emile, unfortunately, wasn’t able to play with the Under-21s last time and had to go back. So I thought his performance against Tottenham was very good. We know how he finished last season as well. I can only say he’s a player we like and he’s very close.”

Smith Rowe will instead play in the Under-21 side as they take on Slovenia and Andorra, but with just over 12 months until the next World Cup, he could well find himself on the plane to Qatar.

Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka were included in the playing squad for the upcoming fixtures, while Ben White narrowly missed out despite travelling with the squad for Euro 2020, and they could all potentially earn a place at the next major tournament.

Could the core of the England team at the next World Cup come from Arsenal?


Tags Emile Smith Rowe England


  1. Very optimistic about ESR making it to the national squad soonner rather than later. Very happy for Ramsdale and Saka, they along with ESR, White are the core Arsenal of the future and will be representing England in major tournaments. Once upon a time the French squad used to comprise many Arsenal players, very soon it could be the English squad.

  2. I think Ramsdale is a strong candidate to be England’s number 1. Pickford can be shaky at times.

    Saka still has a lot of work to do to be a England starter. Lot more goal involvements is expected of him. However, he just turned 20 and has been with the National team over a year. He has time and let’s hope the goals will come.

    ESR just needs to stay fit and I’m sure he will called up soon.

  3. Southgate is, to my mind, the best coach we’ve had. He’s proved time and again that he’s willing to bring young players into the squad and nurture them while they’re in the camp. He’s an incredibly humble guy, too. With him in charge, ESR will make the squad very soon.

  4. I have to agree with Southgate comment about U21 players having to earn the right to be called up to the first team,you have to admit that compare tocountries like say Germany,Italy, France..it is pretty easy to get selected for England,if a player hits form for a few months you have pundits, fans,newspapers.. all calling for him to be selected and usually the manager ends up succumbing to the pressure,you only have to look at the number of English players with 1 or 2 selections, a lot!

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