Reece James shelves rivalry in praise for Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe in wake of England call

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James praises new England teammate

Chelsea wing-back and England international Reece James put aside difference at club level to praise new Three Lions teammate Emile Smith Rowe in the wake of the Arsenal midfielder receiving his first call-up into Gareth Southgate’s squad.

England is set to clash with Albania in the capital on 12 November before traveling to the tiny nation of San Marino to go head to head with the UEFA minnows three days later, with Smith Rowe potentially receiving his first cap for his country.

But according to James, Smith Rowe was always going to be one for the future after the pair first met in the lower levels of the Cobham academy pipeline;

“Nah, I’ve always known he was a top player. He came to Chelsea when he was quite young actually, on trial. 

Yeah, yeah I remember playing with him and playing against him when he moved to Arsenal. I’ve always known he was a top player, and I think this season he has shown how good he is, and why he has been selected.”

England selection justified for Smith Rowe

Perhaps it was providence intervening given the upcoming opponents that England is set to face, but the current form that Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is in has made him one of the hottest properties for the national team over the past month.

Reece James shelves rivalry in praise for Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe in wake of England call

Arsenal’s English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (L) celebrates with Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 30, 2021. – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

With three goals and one assist in his last three Premier League outings – which were all three-point hauls for Mikel Arteta’s men – Smith Rowe has been unquestionably one of the most influential figures for the Gunners in performances that are so much more than just him getting on the scoresheet.

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Arsenal’s presence in the England team under Gareth Southgate has increased of late, with Smith Rowe being the third north London occupant to have a place in the squad alongside fellow youngster Bukayo Saka as well as summer signing Aaron Ramsdale.

With Albania and San Marino offering the perfect chance for ESR to receive his first cap and to put in a commendable display, this is hopefully only the beginning for a budding career in one of the most gifted young players to come through Hale End in quite some time.


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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 11 23 26
2 Manchester City 11 16 23
3 West Ham United 11 10 23
4 Liverpool FC 11 20 22
5 Arsenal FC 11 0 20
6 Manchester United 11 2 17
7 Brighton & Hove Albion 11 0 17
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 -1 16
9 Tottenham Hotspur 11 -7 16
10 Crystal Palace 11 1 15
11 Everton FC 11 0 15
12 Leicester City 11 -2 15
13 Southampton FC 11 -2 14
14 Brentford FC 11 -1 12
15 Leeds United 11 -7 11
16 Aston Villa 11 -6 10
17 Watford FC 11 -7 10
18 Burnley FC 11 -6 8
19 Newcastle United 11 -12 5
20 Norwich City 11 -21 5
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 7
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Raphinha Leeds United 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
James, Reece Chelsea FC 4
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 4
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 4
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 4
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 4
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 4
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace 4
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 4
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 4
Fornals, Pablo West Ham United 4
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 4
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 4
Hwang, Hee-chan Wolverhampton Wanderers 4



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