Emile Smith Rowe disappointment over England omission shows how well he’s playing, says Mikel Arteta

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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has told Emile Smith Rowe his England debut “will come when it’s the right moment” after he was left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad yesterday.

Smith Rowe has been in fine form for Arsenal this season, scoring four times in his last seven games.

The 21-year-old was duly tipped to make the England squad for the first time this month ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino, but was left out by Southgate and will instead join up with the Under-21s next week.

Arteta has urged the attacking midfielder not to be disheartened, though, and has told him his England debut will come when the time is right.

“I think he should be happy if people are gutted [about him not being selected] or people are questioning any decision, because that tells you the level that he’s playing at,” said Arteta.

“Like anything that has happened in Emile’s career, it will come when it’s the right moment, because we don’t know if now is the right moment.

“Gareth knows much better than us to judge what he thinks about the role that he could have in that team, and if he’s decided that it’s not the right moment, I’m sure it was a very thoughtful process and the right decision.”

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and winger Bukayo Saka made the England squad, but defender Ben White was another player who narrowly missed out.

“Again Gareth has to make so many difficult decisions, he has so many choices,” said Arteta.

“What I like is that our players are performing at a level that I am sure they are giving problems in selection to Gareth and the coaching staff.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

“That is what pleases me because I know they have the level to do it and it will be about the timing when the manager decides it is the right moment to select them.”

Arsenal are back in action this weekend when they take on Watford, with the Gunners looking to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 games.

Granit Xhaka is still absent as he recovers from a knee injury, but Kieran Tierney could return after struggling with an ankle issue.

“Let’s see in the next two training sessions how he’s feeling,” said Arteta. “He has done bits with the team but he’s not fully trained yet.”

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