Smith Rowe earns first England call-up with Rashford and Ward-Prowse out

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<span>Photograph: David Klein/Reuters</span>
Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Emile Smith Rowe has been rewarded for his impressive Arsenal form with a first call-up to the England senior squad after the withdrawals of Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse.

The 21-year-old was initially overlooked by Gareth Southgate for the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino, and had been due to join Lee Carsley’s under-21s for Thursday’s European Championship qualifier against the Czech Republic at Turf Moor. But the midfielder was promoted by Southgate on Monday and has reported for international duty at St George’s Park.

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Smith Rowe has been instrumental in Arsenal’s recovery this season and his winner against Watford on Sunday, which elevated Mikel Arteta’s team to fifth in the Premier League, was his fifth goal in his last eight appearances.

The midfielder’s call-up came after Ward-Prowse withdrew from the squad with illness. Rashford is also out of the double-header after it was decided the Manchester United forward should concentrate on regaining full fitness at his club having missed the start of the season as a result of shoulder surgery. The 24-year-old, who is yet to complete a full 90 minutes since his return, also missed two days of training last week through illness although appeared as a substitute in the derby defeat by Manchester City. It is understood England and United agreed it would be more beneficial for Rashford to work on his recovery at Carrington.

The United left-back Luke Shaw could not report for international duty on Monday as he is following concussion protocols after suffering a head injury in the derby at Old Trafford. The Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount was also absent as a result of dental surgery although he and Shaw may join the squad later this week. England host Albania on Friday and visit San Marino on Monday needing four points to guarantee qualification for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

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