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.
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