England manager Gareth Southgate hails Arsenal pair

Gareth Southgate has praised Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe for being a breath of fresh air to Arsenal as he highlights the growing number of English youngsters coming through at different clubs.

Arsenal has always given new chances to young players who prove that they can deliver and Mikel Arteta has continued that trend.

He first trusted Saka to build on his fine start at the club and brought Smith Rowe into the team late last year when his team lacked creativity.

Both players have repaid the faith shown in them by their gaffer and they are now leading other local youngsters across the country.

English talents are usually blocked from showing what they can do by the imports Premier League teams prefer to bring into the country.

Southgate says many youngsters would deliver if teams give them the chance, Smith Rowe and Saka has proven that.

“Eighteen or so months ago, every Saturday we were about 30 per cent of the league, English qualified players,” said Southgate on TalkSPORT.

“This year that’s up to 40 per cent and that doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you think that the likes of perhaps an Emile Smith Rowe getting his opportunity at Arsenal, we know those kids are there, we know the talent is there.

“But of course, when the buying and spending power of the clubs is greater than anything around Europe and the pressure is on to have immediate success, it’s much easier and quicker to go and buy a finished product from abroad, who’s got a handful of a couple of seasons behind them.

“So there was always this blockage for young English players going in. Now, they’re getting their chance and showing [what they can do].

“The boys at Arsenal for example, Saka and Smith Rowe, have been a huge breath of fresh air in their team. There are more across the country if they get the opportunity.”

Tags Bukayo Saka Emile Smith Rowe Gareth Southgate


  1. The fact that more youngsters have been given an opportunity this season is good to hear ,and is one of the few positives to emerge in the midst of what has been a very difficult 12 months in so many ways.The financial impact of the Pandemic has severely limited the transfer market and Managers have more of less been obliged to introduce young players as a result.How many Clubs and their Management will continue to have the courage to give youth a chance, or will the transfer market be their first port of call when the restrictions are behind us and normal service is resumed.I hope the trend outlined by Southgate will continue, but I am afraid the return of fans ,baying for immediate success will put paid to that, and the careers of many really talented youngsters will once again be put on hold.As fans it is up to us to encourage our Clubs to carry on with the youth policy , if only to allow time to replenish the financial coffers before quality finished articles can be considered.A mixture of experience and youth has always been flagged as a prerequisite of success, but perhaps the scales should be tipped towards the latter, more than the former.That was the case, in terms of one of the best Club sides I ever saw in this Country, namely “The Busby Babes”.Now there was a team with a truly courageous Manager and who knows what they would have achieved had disaster not befallen them.I like Southgate who speaks a lot of sense.

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