History and form suggest time is right for Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe to seize England chance

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History and form suggest time is right for Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe to seize England chance
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In the end, it just became impossible for England and Gareth Southgate to ignore Arsenal attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe knocking on their door.

Many thought the 21-year-old would get his first call-up to the senior side last week, when Southgate named his squad for World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

Smith Rowe narrowly missed out, but responded in the perfect way by scoring the only goal of the game as Arsenal beat Watford on Sunday. 24 hours later, England came calling.

Smith Rowe’s strike against Watford took his combined tally of goals and assists in the Premier League this season to six, which is more than Jack Grealish, Phil Foden or anyone else in the current England squad.

Only Crystal Palace midfielder Conor Gallagher and West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen can match Smith Rowe’s tally, and they too could be dreaming of a late call-up given Luke Shaw and Mason Mount are yet to link up at St. George’s Park. Mount’s arrival has been delayed due to recent dental surgery and he is being monitored, while Shaw is currently following concussion protocol at Manchester United.

Smith Rowe got his call-up yesterday after James Ward-Prowse and Marcus Rashford pulled out and, if history has taught us anything, we can expect the 21-year-old to seize this chance with both hands.

That was the certainly case when he was thrown into the Arsenal first-team under a year ago. He hasn’t looked back since and in the past 11 months has signed a new long-term contract, been handed the No10 shirt and now received a senior England call-up.

These games against Albania and San Marino provide him with the opportunity to put down a marker in the absence of Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Rashford, who are all vying to make it into an England squad bulging with attacking talent. When you throw in the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jesse Lingard, too, you can begin to understand why Smith Rowe has had to wait for his chance.

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

England have been patient with Smith Rowe but, if he is to make the squad for next year’s World Cup, now felt like the time when he needed to be integrated into the senior setup.

This is the last England camp of the year and there are not many more international breaks for Smith Rowe to show Southgate why he should be in his squad for Qatar.

It didn’t take the 21-year-old long to prove his talent at Arsenal, becoming a household name in less than a year. Smith Rowe will be dreaming it can be the same case with England.

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