Gareth Southgate declares Emile Smith Rowe omitted


England coach Gareth Southgate has explained his decision to leave Arsenal striker Emile Smith Rowe in the form of his squad for the Three Lions’ last World Cup qualifier later this month.

The versatile 21-year-old has been on top lately, scoring three goals and providing two assists in his last five league games for the Gunners.

But despite being in the red as the international break approaches, Smith Rowe has been forced to settle for a place in the U21 squad after being overlooked by Southgate for clashes with Albania and San Marino.

The Three Lions boss has instead decided to lean on established members of his squad, where England almost certainly need four points from their two remaining World Cup qualifiers to secure their place at next year’s showpiece.

Asked about Smith Rowe’s absence from a press conference following the squad’s announcement, Southgate said: “Emile Smith Rowe, Conor Gallagher, Marc Guehi all play very well for their clubs, but we have depth.

“To include them, we have to leave some of the players on the scoreboard. It is not a bad thing that we are starting to have a very strong U21 team.

“We track many players very quickly. Many of them [former U21 players] is in this squad now and played a big role in the European Championships.

“When you put them back in the 21st century, it can be complicated. It’s a little early – we could put them in and they would be perfectly okay, by the way.”

Southgate said before the last international break that Smith Rowe was “very close” to joining the squad, so it seems that a call is only a matter of time.

The Arsenal man in the form of teammate Aaron Ramsdale has retained his place in the squad, and Southgate admitted that he is challenging Jordan Pickford for the number one jersey.

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