Emile Smith Rowe has new target as Arsenal star set for England U21 start after surprising coach

Emile Smith Rowe is expected to start for England Under-21 away to Slovenia tomorrow (Thursday) evening with head coach Lee Carsley excited to see the Arsenal attacking midfielder in action after he missed last month’s win against Kosovo due to illness.

The Hale End graduate has had his training load closely monitored since joining up with his international team-mates on Monday to ensure that he is sufficiently rested for the game at Stadion Z’dezele in Celje.

And Carsley, who has been surprised by Smith Rowe’s mentality, is hoping that he can become as important a fixture for his team as Mikel Arteta’s side, a week after senior manager Gareth Southgate said that he was close to a call up.

“I spoke to a lot of the players about when you’re building your reputation and people are talking about you, it is important that you can show that you can perform for your club and international level as well,” Carsley said.

“These are a good level of opponents. I’m excited by not only Emile but a lot of the players. They are playing at a very high level at their clubs.

“What’s surprised me most is their mentality. We expect them to be resilient when they are not playing well but we also expect them to be calm and calculated when doing really well. It’s about getting that balance in the middle and Emile seems very level-headed. He works very hard.

“We’ve made sure to manage his load this week because he’s coming off the back of a lot of games and a lot of high-pressured games as well. We’ve made sure he’s well prepared and rested for this game tomorrow.”

Crystal Palace centre back Marc Guehi will captain the side with midfielder Conor Gallagher, on loan from Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur’s Oliver Skipp expected to start in midfield.

Liverpool’s Curtis Jones is also in contention having missed out against Kosovo.

There are no injury concerns for Carsley, although reserve goalkeeper Josh Griffiths has been replaced in the squad by Carl Rushworth.

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