England manager Gareth Southgate has today named his England squad to face Andorra and Hungary in October’s World Cup qualifiers.
While there are some notable omissions enforced due to injury, with the likes of Harry Maguire and Trent Alexander-Arnold out, there are two names not in the squad that has left some Arsenal fans questioning their exclusion.
Arsenal summer signing Ben White, a part of England’s Euro 2020 team that made it all the way to the final, and Hale End academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe have both not been included in Southgate’s squad.
When questioned about the selection of the two Arsenal players, Southgate said that both players were “very close” to making the squad.
As quoted by the Metro, he said on White: “He performed well against Tottenham, is still settling into a new club.
“But the performance showed good signs and he is a player we are monitoring closely.
“He would have been very close to this squad as well.”
Southgate then elaborated on the decision not to pick Smith Rowe:
“He’s a player we like a lot and he was very close to making this squad.
“At this moment in time, I don’t want to bring in any more younger players out of the Under-21s. They have got to earn that right over a longer period
“I thought his performance against Tottenham was very good, we know how he finished last season as well.
“I can only say he is a player we really like and he was close.”
After a shaky start to the season, Arsenal has enjoyed an upturn in form winning three games on the spin including their 3-0 demolition of Tottenham in last Sunday’s North London Derby.
The Gunners have kept two clean sheets in this time, no doubt bolstered by the return of players from injury and from suspension, as well as new signings.
Arsenal’s Achilles heel last season was quite often the lack of goals they scored and a relative lack of defensive stability, which led to them finishing a disappointing eighth place.
However, after being the biggest spenders in the summer transfer window, Mikel Arteta has added more of the components he needs in order to make this Arsenal squad successful and, subject to form, injuries to key players and suspensions, Arsenal’s season look’s to be back on track and as they seek a return into the top six of the Premier League.
And White and Smith Rowe will be pivotal in achieving this.