Friday, June 2, 2023

Smith Rowe gets first England under-21s call-up

Emile Smith Rowe’s fine form for Arsenal has earned him a first call-up to England’s under-21s.

The young Gunner will be part of a 23-man squad that heads to Slovenia to take on Croatia, Portugal and Switzerland in the group stages of the UEFA U21 EURO Finals.


Having struggled with injury in the opening months of the season, Smith Rowe has featured 21 times since the last international break in November, registering six assists and two goals.

Such has been his impact that the 20-year-old midfielder was labelled a “breath of fresh air” by England boss Gareth Southgate who also praised Arsenal for the development of Bukayo Saka.

Smith Rowe is no stranger to England duty. He was part of the under-17 squad that won the World Cup in 2017 and most recently played for the under-20s.

Emile is joined in the squad by Eddie Nketiah who gets a call-up despite his lack of minutes in recent months. Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, members of previous squads, have not been given the nod this time.

Due to Covid-19, this year’s U21 EURO sees the group stage and knockout stage held separately, rather than as just one summer finals.

The group stage involves 16 nations between 24-31 March with the four group winners and four runners-up qualifying for the knockout phase, which will be jointly hosted by Hungary and Slovenia from 31 May to 6 June 2021.


Goalkeepers: Josef Bursik (Stoke City), Josh Griffiths (Cheltenham Town, loan from West Bromwich Albion), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)

Defenders: Max Aarons (Norwich City), Ben Godfrey (Everton), Marc Guehi (Swansea City, loan from Chelsea), Lloyd Kelly (AFC Bournemouth), Ryan Sessegnon (Hoffenheim, loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Steven Sessegnon (Bristol City, loan from Fulham), Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur), Ben Wilmot (Watford)

Midfielders: Tom Davies (Everton), Ebere Eze (Crystal Palace), Conor Gallagher (West Bromwich Albion, loan from Chelsea), Curtis Jones (Liverpool), Dwight McNeil (Burnley), Oliver Skipp (Norwich City, loan from Tottenham Hotspur)

Attackers: Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)

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What!? he has never played for the U21’s? I was thinking he had an outside chance of getting in the full squad

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Does England even have a No. 10? Dele Alli? Mourinho has already made him sh!t anyways.


Grealish kinda? But Southgate likes to play a back 5 and 2 defensive midfielders (I was going to exaggerate this for effect but then I realised it was ridiculous enough already!) so doesn’t bother with no 10s


Guessing Foden or Mount will play there, if Southgate has the balls to ditch that shite back three

Pascal Seagull

Maddison, Mount, Foden, Graelish…

Crash Fistfight

Not sure Phineas is a #10, but agree with the others.


Who’s phineas?


Just a figment of Candace’s imagination.

Dele Alli has always been a shit full of cheats.

Ipal Taka

This seems absolutely pointless, is Arsenal obliged to let ESR leave for this? I’d much rather just see him rest for a week, he has quickly become such a crucial part of our game, we need him for the run-in!


Like it or not, this is part of his pathway to play for England, and a kid like Smith-Rowe more often than not wants that. We’re not obliged but I don’t think it’s wise. A happy, tired ESR better than an unhappy fresh one.


I’d be happy if he announced his retirement from international football tomorrow.


Ipal Taka

Yeah true, I’m from a smaller nation, where players from big leagues go straight into the A-team, so I might underestimate the importance of the U-21 as a path into the senior England squad. And crazy, that ESR hasn’t featured at that level yet (though guess mostly down to injuries). But does he really have to prove that he’s good enough at that level? I see him as one of the first names on the team sheet for Arsenal really, quickly establishing himself as a proven PL player. I can’t imagine that Southgate will learn much more from sending him… Read more »


Much as we’d like him to remain here, I don’t think it would be great player management if MA said “Congratulations, you’ve got your first England U21 call-up. Well done and it’s well deserved. Unfortunately, we’re not releasing you. Sorry.”. Hmmm. I can’t see that happening, can you? I think we’ll just have to wish him well and get on with it.


Of course we need him for the run in but what a boost to his morale to earn international recognition. Would be totally unfair to deprive him of the chance.

Pascal Seagull

It’s during an international break.


Going forward can they not just make the international friendlies and qualifiers a mini tournament at the end of each season. Finish the seasons earlier and play the qualifiers for world cups/euros over 4-6weeks. You’d get more interest from fans aswell and players could give it there all knowing they won’t get injured for a club match the following week.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Good that Eddie will get some minutes. When Auba was top form, Eddie was being used, when Auba lost form, he wasn’t getting any game time. MA has his pecular thinking that nobody understands.


Bar his debut when he got those two goals against Norwich(?), I can’t really think of a truly good performance from Nketiah.. Even when he’s got goals in the EL they’ve mostly been very scrappy, and he’s contributed very little to overall play.
I’d love nothing more than for him to turn it around, but I have a horrible feeling his Arsenal ship has sailed. Just hasn’t progressed as we’d hoped if we’re honest.

Vaibhav Pandey

Agree, he would be shipped or loaned next season. I think Mikel will prioritize Balogun instead of Nketiah but problem is both having the same agent 😀

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

So why did MA say there was a hierarchy and Nketiah was ahead of Balogun? We will lose Balogun and perhaps Martinelli in the future. That’s the point I was making. Nketiak ahead of Balogun but not good enough to be playing and you want Balogun to sign a deal.


He surely won’t be in the U21s for long. But blimey England have some depth in attacking midfield.

Crash Fistfight

Yes, definitely. The issue for England is that we don’t produce any technical central midfielders – they’re generally cloggers (as much as I actually think Jordan Henderson is usually good for England, he’s hardly visionary). The only ones that aren’t are Curtis Jones (who’s a Billy Big Bollocks and not that special) and Harry Winks (the less said about him the better).

Vaibhav Pandey

Henderson is only as good as players around him. He is very limited in his scope as a player, hardly a world beater DM.


Underwhelming. He should be getting called up to the Men’s squad.


Dude, you seriously misread the article if you think he’s been called up the the Women’s squad.

Vaibhav Pandey

He needs to prove himself on consistent basis otherwise if he fails to do that in next few seasons he would be a forgotten man.


He is looking great, hope he stars for us for many years to come!


Well done Emile.Well deserved and surely just a stepping stone to the senior squad.
Absolute class act.

Johnny 4 Hats

Ah, so he’s going to play for England.

I thought he may have chosen Brazil due to his footballing DNA.


An overdue reward for ESR’s good performances at club level. But his lack of rest to play internationals will be worrying.

Naked Cygan

I would rather non of our players got called up for international duty. These games are not the same anymore. They are boring and pointless. Players get injured, now we got covid to worry . The more players we have stay back and rest the better. Hope also Saka gets a rest. Why play him against san marino and Albania?


We, as fans, would sometimes prefer players not to be called up but I strongly doubt that’s the view the players take. Playing for your country, at whatever level, pointless or not, is something very few players turn down and I don’t blame them. It’s daft to expect anything else. If you were the player concerned, would you turn down such an opportunity? I think not.

Naked Cygan

If a player has a knock, has a chance to play in the Champions Leauge, Europa Leauge, win the Leauge, an FA Cup run, possible shot at making top 4-6, a chance to break into the first team, do you think they really give a sh*t about playing San Marino?


If it was their first chance at a cap at that level, as it is in the case we’re discussing, I think that the vast majority of players would want to play for their country.

Injuries can be picked up anywhere at any time, even in the warm-up to a game. It’s a risk that every player takes the minute he puts his boots on. However, if you’re right we can expect ESR to decline the invitation. Let’s see what happens.




Totally agree Biggles – but would add they we too should feel a sense of achievement and pride when our players are recognised Internationally. This is particularly true of the home grown ones.


The only way for this to happen would be for our players to all be rubbish, which wouldn’t be much fun.


Happy for the kid. Hopefully he gets the starting position and becomes the star of that team. Not bad for his development and confidence


Yes, I agree. There are some comments about pointless games, risk of injury, “club over country” etc. but I imagine (and I can only imagine) the boost to a youngster’s confidence by the chance of earning his first cap at whatever level for his country.

Every one of the great international players started off with their first cap, probably in an unimportant game, probably against “lightweight” opposition, and there was always a risk of injury, of course. Did they refuse the invitation?

Vaibhav Pandey

Forget about the country, I was super proud for playing for my undergrad college in a mini stadium full of people. I can imagine how it would feel to represent their country in any sport or in anything. Well done ESR, keep making it big!!


Emile has fully earned his call up, I just hope that those idiots at England take good care of him… Dwight McNeill is looking promising, one to keep an eye on perhaps?


He’s already one of the best players in the Prem. in his position. Playing him in the U21s seems unfair on England’s opponents!


Totally deserved good for him I fully expect to get a senior cap soon enough if he keeps playing like this

Tanned arse

I hope it’s made clear that this lad won’t play in all 3 games. We wouldn’t play him that many times in such a short space of time and he’s always taken off. He’s an arsenal player, we pay his wages and quite honestly really need him on the pitch but we still manage his fitness issues even if it means weakening our team. If we respect the fact he can’t play as much as we’d hope or need they better do the same. I wnot hold my breath though

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