Arsenal forward Emile Smith Rowe has received his first senior England call-up for the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.
Smith Rowe had been scheduled to join up with England’s Under-21s, but instead met up with Gareth Southgate’s senior squad at St George’s Park on Monday. The 21-year-old has been rewarded for his fine form for the Gunners so far this season.
Smith-Rowe has appeared in all their Premier League games this term. And he scored in his third successive top-flight match in Sunday’s 1-0 home win over Watford.
Manchester United pair Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw, Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse and Chelsea’s Mason Mount did not report for England duty.
Rashford is focusing on regaining full fitness following his recent return from shoulder surgery. Shaw, meanwhile, is recovering from concussion sustained in Saturday’s Manchester derby defeat.
Ward-Prowse is ruled out through illness and Mount will be monitored by Southgate and his staff after undergoing dental surgery.
Southgate will begin preparation for Friday’s home fixture against Albania and the following qualifier in San Marino on Monday with just 22 players.
The Three Lions are in pole position to qualify for the Qatar 2022 finals. They are three points clear of closest group rivals Poland with two games to play.
Four points from their final two qualifiers will guarantee England’s qualification.
Recalled Arsenal star clears up future talk
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta can seemingly do no wrong at present after a current Arsenal star he brought back in from the cold provided a telling transfer update on his future.
Arsenal have bounced back from a dismal start to the season in emphatic fashion. The Gunners were bottom of the table after going both point-less and goal-less in their first three matches. Since then, however, the Gunners have been on a roll.
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Arsenal have won six and drawn three of their last nine league matches. Factoring in reaching the quarter finals of the EFL Cup, the Gunners are on a 12-match unbeaten streak.
Players from far and wide in Arteta’s squad are playing their part. In Sunday’s victory over Watford, Ainsley Maitland-Niles made his second league start of the season when deputising for the injured Thomas Partey.
His mood will have been further improved after both those starts came in his preferred central midfield position.
The versatile 24-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Everton in the summer. Indeed, his emotional plea for a move away on Instagram made his intentions crystal clear.
The past is the past
Arteta and Arsenal denied his requests, and just two months later, that decision is already paying dividends. And via Goal, Maitland-Niles has now provided a telling transfer update when stating his desire to leave is “in the past”.
“That’s all in the past now,” said the Arsenal academy graduate of his future intentions.
“I am just thinking about the future and what’s ahead of me. It was great to be out there [against Watford], getting my minutes, and hopefully there is more to come.
“Yeah [I’m] always happy to be on the pitch and play, it’s a good feeling.
“Of course I’m looking for more minutes, I just need to keep my head down and keep going and working hard.”