Emile Smith Rowe showed England head coach Gareth Southgate exactly what he was missing after scoring the decisive goal in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over ten-man Watford.
The Gunners endured a frustrating first half at the Emirates, with Ben Foster saving a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty before denying Gabriel Magalhaes with a superb stop down low to his right.
But Mikel Arteta’s men flew out of the blocks after the break and Smith Rowe beat Foster from the edge of the box to break the deadlock in the 56th minute, the youngster’s third goal in his last three Premier League games.
Juraj Kucka was sent off for a second bookable offence at the death and the hosts held firm to secure all three points and go level on points with fourth-placed West Ham in the table, extending their unbeaten run to ten matches in all competitions in the process.
Many had tipped Smith Rowe to be included in Southgate’s England squad for the team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers, but the midfielder was left out and had to settle for a place with the Under-21s instead.
Asked for his reaction to missing out on England’s latest squad following Arsenal’s win, Smith Rowe told Sky Sports: ‘It is important I just keep my head down and keep working hard I am happy whoever I get called up for.’
Smith Rowe was delighted the work he had been putting into his finishing paid off in Arsenal’s ‘difficult’ clash with Claudio Ranieri’s battling Watford side.
‘It was a difficult game for us today. Watford are a strong team. Happy we got the three points,’ the Arsenal academy product added.
‘I am happy to score I have been practicing during training. It is really special and doing it at home and in front of our fans is even better.
‘We have been working really hard, really important we got three points today.
‘I think we always believed in ourselves and each other. It was just about coming together as a team and we are such a family.’
Southgate suggested it was a ‘little bit early’ for Smith Rowe to be included at senior level ahead of the Three Lions’ qualifying matches with Albania and San Marino.
However, the England head coach said Arsenal’s No.10 was on a ‘really good path’ after a strong start to the campaign with his club.
‘Emile, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi, in particular, are all playing very well with their clubs, but we’ve got depth,’ Southgate told reporters.
‘To put those in we’ve got to leave some of these on the sheet out and I think it’s not a bad thing that we’re starting to get a very strong Under-21 team because you want that depth.
‘We fast track lots of young players very quickly and the majority of them are still in this squad now and a lot of them played a big part in the Euros.
‘But also we’ve had some that have come up and then when you put them back with the Under-21s that’s a lot more complicated so we want to get the timing of that right.
‘I think the boys I’ve just mentioned there are on a really good path, we like them, we’ll get a good chance to see them with the Under-21s as well as with their club, but at the moment we think it’s a little bit early for some of those guys in.
‘We can put them in and they would be absolutely fine by the way. But we think the players we’ve picked are just a little bit ahead at the moment.’
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