Mikel Arteta names the Arsenal player Emile Smith Rowe must learn from to make dream a reality

The international break is almost upon us.

Arsenal face tricky tests in the Premier League against Burnley and Tottenham as well as both their Europa League Round of 16 legs against Olympiacos before players break off to go and play for their national teams.

In among them is Bukayo Saka who earned his second, third and fourth caps for England back in November, and after scoring five goals and assisting five more since Christmas the 19-year-old is a dead cert to be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad when it is named later this month.

Alongside him could be fellow Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe.

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Speaking in an interview earlier this week Southgate dropped a huge hint that the 20-year-old could be in his plans after praising the impact he has had in turning the Gunners season around.

“Eighteen or so months ago, every Saturday we were about 30 per cent of the league, English qualified players,” he told talkSPORT.

“This year that’s up to 40 per cent and that doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you think that the likes of perhaps an Emile Smith Rowe getting his opportunity at Arsenal, we know those kids are there, we know the talent is there.”

The number 10 position where Smith Rowe has starred for Arsenal this season is fiercely competitive, with the like of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, James Maddison and many other competing for just one starting spot.

However, Mikel Arteta has backed the Hale End graduate to find a place in the side if he is able to follow the example of Saka and sustain the performance levels he has shown so far this season.

“I think it’s possible,” said Arteta when asked about the prospect of an England call up for Smith Rowe.

“I think if he shows the same determination as Bukayo, be as humble as he is, and play with personality that he’s done I think he’s got a great chance.

“Emile has got all the attributes and all the qualities, in my opinion, that you need to play for the national team.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka have all been praised by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

“After that it is about finding the consistency required obviously because that level is as good as it gets.

“I think he showed that in moments this season what he can do, but now it’s about doing it for longer periods, adding more assists, more goals and working as hard as he’s been doing because I think he’s been phenomenal for us.”

Smith Rowe will first though want to focus on getting fully fit again after limping off injured during the Gunners 3-1 win over Leicester last Sunday.

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Speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Burnley though Arteta revealed the hip problem the 20-year-old had sustained at the King Power was not as severe as first thought.

“Emile had a scan yesterday,” he said. “It doesn’t look a significant injury but he was in discomfort.”

It is currently unclear whether he will be able to feature at Turf Moor or if he will be available for the Europa League Round of 16 first leg tie against Olympiacos next Thursday.

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