Friday, December 1, 2023

Southgate labels Saka & Smith Rowe “a breath of fresh air”

Gareth Southgate says he’s been keeping close tabs on Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka in recent months and labelled the pair “a breath of fresh air.”

The midfielders, both graduates of Arsenal’s Academy, have started 10 of the Gunners’ last 12 Premier League matches together bringing new energy to a side that seriously struggled in the league prior to Christmas.

Speaking to talkSPORT about the young talent at England’s disposal, Southgate highlighted that the pair’s progress should stand as an example to other clubs who often block the pathway to senior football with big-money signings.

“Emile Smith Rowe getting his opportunity at Arsenal,” he said. “We know those kids are there and we know the talent is there but 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 is easier to go and buy the finished product from abroad.

“There was always this blockage for young English players, now they’re getting their chance. Those two boys at Arsenal, Saka and Smith Rowe, have been a huge breath of fresh air in their team and there are more across the country if they get their opportunity.”

On how he goes about selecting his squad, Southgate added: “It is a case of who is playing the best, who do we think has the pedigree, who has performed at a high level before, coupled with who is in form and who fits into the way we want to play.

“The squad has to evolve all the time. If there is ever complacently that sets in then the young players have provided that competition and energy.

“You need experienced players who have got to those latter stages of tournaments, who are used to winning and have maybe won trophies with their clubs. We’ve got to get the balance right.”

A year ago, Saka had an outside shot at making England’s Euro 2020 squad. With four caps under his belt and producing consistently impressive football at Arsenal, he now looks a dead cert to be included by Southgate when the delayed tournament kicks-off this summer.

Assuming he’s not too badly injured, you’d imagine that Smith Rowe is in line for his first under-21 call-up when the Interlull kicks in later this month. A member of England’s under-17 World Cup-winning squad, he’s not yet had a chance past under-20 level.

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Southgate with all the talent at this disposal need to build a solid team which has good cohesion and unity for England to win any of the big trophies. Moreover, I think he is less annoying than his predecessor who were all out to annoy the club who pay the players.

P.S: Message to Tom/Andrew
Last couple of days i keep seeing ‘Nginx’ error once in a while when any article is clicked. It goes away with subsequent attempts, any issue with the LB deployed for your website?

Johnny 4 Hats

Anything feels like a breath of fresh air when you’re forced to do room checks on Foden and Greenwood.

Give youth a chance

There’s such a wealth of young English talent coming through right now Southgate will have some tough decisions to make.

I’d like to see a squad of mainly under 25s for the Euros with the aim of building towards the next world cup

Bai Blagoi

Poor Reiss Nelson… Only if he was getting as many chances as some others…


I really don’t understand why Nelson didn’t go out on loan this January. Smith Rowe has been excellent (not playing as well recently on the wing) but also was helped by the fact there was no natural player in his position in the squad. In past Arsenal squads he would have had a much more difficult time breaking through given our normal surplus of creative midfielders. Saka on the other hand while facing competition (Auba/Martinelli/Willian/Pepe/Nelson all play in his role) has simply played so well that he has made himself undropable. Nelson for all the fan love, really hasn’t done… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

When Nelson went on loan in Germany and started scoring goals, he was unlucky to have another young manager over there trying to apply weird principles to him. His monentum was stopped and Arteta did not try to revive this.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Nelson scored 7 goals in Bundesliga with Hoffenheim. He was once crowned PL2 Player of the Season by a panel of PL football development.


I would like to disagree. He scored lots of goals at the start then faded. Anybody who was watching Hoffenheim, and I was watching them because of him, could easily see he wasn’t ready. His decision making, his runs on and off the ball, he still looked like a youngster from the academy trying to break into the 1st team. Most fans were asking for his recall in January based on the six or seven goals he had scored in the opening couple of months but didn’t understand why he eventually lost his place in that team on merit. He… Read more »


He wasn’t starting every week even when he was scoring goals early in the season. He made 5 starts in the whole season, none in their 6 CL games.


He defs has the ability to beat players but it’s his final ball/finish/decision that lets him down.


Unlike another young Gun who went to Germany… let’s hope we don’t do another Gnabry


I don’t think that’s a fair comment. The reason Saka & ESR are getting more chances is because they are better players. Nothing against Nelson but…..

I agree with atom though, he should have been let on loan in Jan.


Definitely Reiss is talented, but he’s not shown he can affect games at senior level yet. He has had chances, but games have largely passed him by.

Probably right in that a loan would give him a chance to do develop this with game time.

If he was having the impact that, for example Saka in a similar position, is having then he would be playing. So it’s really on him to prove that.


TBF Reiss Nelson never took his chances

Spanish Gooner

Nelson hasn’t really done much to earn his chance, in fairness. He was decent enough at the start of his Hoffenheim spell then had some attitude problems and barely played from Christmas onwards. He should have pushed for a loan like Willock and AMN did in January, and definitely should be looking to move (temporarily or otherwise) in summer

Oh lord I forgot the international break was coming up soon. I’m curious – with over 20 million Covid vaccines administered in the UK to date – have Premier League footballers been vaccinated already?


Only the elderly ones and those with serious underlying health conditions. Perhaps Crystal Palace.


Been a while since we had players regularly involved for the senior England team. Welbeck, Wilshere, Walcott, Ox. It’s testament to the good work Saka is doing that he looks very likely to be going to the Euros, given the huge competition for places. Smith-Rowe doesn’t look too far behind either.

Eddy F

FYI pictures aren’t loading for me on the arseblognews site.

Bai Blagoi

also for me

Bossman Bill

Unfortunately for Emile, I think this Euros comes too early for him. He’s got to get ahead of Grealish particularly (who I think Southgate should build the entire team around), and I think he’s probably not there yet.

However, he definitely will be in years to come. And, as a selfish fan, it’s good for us if he doesn’t have to have a whole summer of playing internationals.

Saka, based on form and contribution, probably starts? Idk. It’s been a long long time since we had this many decent options.

If only there was a way we could naturalise Willian.

Spanish Gooner

It’s tricky for Smith Rowe, as we’re as well-stocked in his position as we could possibly be. Southgate usually plays 433, meaning he’d be competing for the inside forward spots with Saka, Sancho, Grealish, Sterling, Rashford, Foden, Maddison, Mount, all of whom are established top premier league (or Bundesliga) players. It should at least mean he’ll get some rest in the international breaks, which is no bad thing for a youngster with a chequered injury history


Oh god, we have internationals this month? Grrr.

Dr Zebra

Haha what month is it again???

King 14enry

there are more across the country”

…there’s only one Bukayo Saka, Gareth. Don’t you dare label him as anything but one of a kind!!

In all seriousness, it’s great to see our players getting a look at for the England squad. I know the downside is that they may miss a bit of pre-season, but I personally the increase in confidence that comes from being an England international far outweighs the short-term effect of maybe not playing the full 90 minutes in the first few games of the season. Exciting times!


Reiss Nelson, Martinelli are now in Arteta’s Jail Guendouzi escaped and Saliba broke free, now it those 2 in jail at the moment.

DB10s Air Miles

Why are there so many Gooners trying to find drama where there isn’t any?
Martinelli is only just returning from yet another injury and Nelson hasn’t exactly set the world on fire when given one of his many opportunities. No conspiracy here.


Lose the tin foil hat, mate. There’s no jail and no grand conspiracy. Nelson hasn’t taken his chances, Martinelli’s coming off a really serious injury, and Guendouzi is a head case who’s been a discipline problem at every club he’s played for (before, including, and after Arsenal). Plus Guendouzi’s contribution in 35 appearances for Arsenal, most of them starts, was a grand total of zero goals and one assist. We’re well shot of him. The jury’s still out on Saliba, but one of the reasons he didn’t make the squad is he was told to learn English while on his… Read more »


I do worry about the lack of involvement for Martinelli, Balogun and Eddie especially.

When we were ahead in the weekend against Leicester why was Aubamyang the one brought on after 84 minutes to replace Lacazette? Would getting the last few minutes of game time not have been more valuable for Martinelli than our Captain. It is not like Aubamyang is chasing to be top scorer or anything, unfortunately. I assume that when Martinelli is on the bench he is able to do 6-12 minutes without any real risk.


Were you the bloke shouting ‘get out while you can Joel’ like a lunatic a few years ago?

DB10s Air Miles

is that world class Joel Campbell you’re referring to?


Can’t be any argument with that, can there? Bringing on talented youngsters like these two (and, most importantly) keeping them at the club is going to be the way for Arsenal in the coming years. Our financial position will restrict the ability to buy “big” (or even “medium”, possibly) – without selling at least, which we may not always want to, or be able to. As we can’t, and very probably never will if we’re honest, be able to compete in the market with the obvious PL big spenders it makes sense to follow the home-grown talent route wherever possible.… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Bigger clubs will soon be sniffing around and trying to tempt Saka away. He needs to be tied down to a lucrative long term contract as a priority in the coming months. His age is irrelevant, his performances do the talking, and they deserve more than 30k per week in this market

He signed a new contract 8 months ago.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I know he did. He deserves a more rewarding one now. He shouldn’t be the lowest paid first team member, only ahead of ESR

Spanish Gooner

So? It’s not an exaggeration to say that he could be an option for Barcelona when Messi goes at the end of next season (when he’ll have two years left), and Guardiola is also a massive fan and will be looking to replace/upgrade on Mahrez. For context, Foden is on £75k and is currently renegotiating his deal, and Hudson Odoi (a young Chelsea player most famous for being linked to Bayern Munich once) is on £180k (!), so if we’re proactive we should be locking down Saka as soon as possible.


Contracts mean nothing. The club needs to show some ambition if it wants to keep its best young players.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Ok fair enough.
Well he deserves a new contract based on the fact that he’s not just a newly promoted squad member with potential, and he’s now the key member of the squad.

Gandalf’s Kebab

Southgate went on to say, “If they are worried about not getting game time, I can guarantee I will play them every single minute in every single game, especially useless friendlies against the likes of Gibraltar. I’m looking into whether they can be fielded for both the U20 and the senior teams, as lord knows we need players of their calibre. They will play, play, play, and play some more. I swear blind that they will not be returning to Arsenal until they at least one of their legs has dropped off. Each. And why shouldn’t I? They wouldn’t dare… Read more »


It’s a breath of fresh air that two Arsenal Academy graduates have demonstrated that they are good enough to be playing regularly in the Arsenal first team, by:

  • being able & willing to compete against players of whatever nationality, and of whatever age, for first team places
  • being aware that they do not have the right to play for – or be in the first team squad of – one of the elite clubs in English football, just because they hold English passports.

Well done so far lads, now keep going.

A Voice in the Noise

“You need experienced players who have got to those latter stages of tournaments, who are used to winning and have maybe won trophies with their clubs”

So no Sp*rs players at the Euros then, I reckon.

Pastor Simon

Take it or leave it, Saka is the Messi of Premier League

Sac, Lac & Craic

Don’t be ridiculous, we’re at a risk of grossly over-rating a player to a degree he’ll never manage to reach if we speak like that about him.

Messi is alright, but he is just a poor man’s Saka.


Whenever I read ‘breath of fresh air’ I immediately think of that Will Smith film Wild Wild West where his sidekick has a Freudian slip and says ‘breast of fresh ass’. I don’t know why this happens and I wish it would stop.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

My guess is your user name says it all, while you possibly live in denial.

Free yourself, that stuff is accepted in 2021


Guys do you háve also problém to with connection to News section from Mobile? This is the lást article that is showing to mé from that section


This is the last post I can access on Arse News, is it just me?

Just shrug

No tweets since 5 days ago either 🤔

Just shrug

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Bug on the blog

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