Emile Smith Rowe can consider himself unfortunate to have not made the England senior squad.
That is the view of Arsenal legend Martin Keown who delivered his view on Gareth Southgate’s announcement ahead of watching his former side in Europa League action on Thursday evening.
Earlier in the day, the England squad was revealed – with the likes of Harry Kane, Luke Shaw, John Stones, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all being called up.
With Smith Roweselected for U21 duty at the beginning of the week, he was never expected to be in Southgate’s plans for the triple-header later this month.
However, Keown thinks the 20-year-old is unlucky to not be in Southgate’s plans after an ‘absolutely outstanding’ influence on the Arsenal side post-Christmas.
In fact, the Gunners legend appeared to have disagreed with the England boss for choosing Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard – on loan at West Ham United – instead.
“It’s interesting that the England squad was named today and Lingard made it into the national team,” Keown told BT Sport. “He’s done exceptionally well as well, but I think Smith Rowe is unlucky not to be in there.
“Lingard has only played six games since his loan period, they’ve all been good games, but the influence he’s had on the Arsenal team – him and Saka – has been absolutely outstanding.
“I see him as unfortunate not to make the full squad.”
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With that said, Smith Rowe is content with being with the U21’s as he broke his silence on the announcement as Arsenal were beaten 1-0 by Olympiacos on the night but still managed to seal a place in the quarter-final thanks to a 3-2 aggregate victory.
“I got a message from one of the coaches,” he told BT Sport. “It’s a really happy moment for me and my family, I can’t wait to get over there and get started.
“I was with my mum and dad at the time and I showed them the message. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity, so I can’t wait to get started.”