Martin Keown thinks Emile Smith Rowe was ‘unfortunate’ to be left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad and feels he should be in ahead of Jesse Lingard.
Smith Rowe has impressed since breaking into Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side and Keown hailed his performances as ‘absolutely outstanding’.
He’s scored two goals and provided six assists in 21 first-team appearances for the Gunners this season and become an important part of Arteta’s plans.
He has scored four goals and produced one assist in his first six Premier League matches for David Moyes’s side and was a contender for Player of the Month in February.
That proved enough for him to be recalled to the national side for the first time since 2019.
But Keown suggested Smith Rowe would have been more deserving of an opportunity.
‘The England squad was named today and Lingard has made it in,’ Keown told BT Sport.
‘He has done exceptionally well as well, but I think Smith Rowe is unlucky not to be in there.
‘Lingard has only played 6 games since his loan, all good games but the impression and influence he has had on this Arsenal team, Smith Rowe and Saka, is absolutely outstanding.
‘I see him as unfortunate to not make the full squad.’
Southgate admitted that Lingard was ‘fortunate’ to be included in the group, with England missing a few players through injury.
‘Jesse, of the three, is a little more fortunate to be in,’ said Southgate. ‘We’ve got injuries which have opened up an opportunity for Jesse, but his performances for West Ham have been excellent.
‘He has scored goals for England, there’s no doubting his quality. Ideally, you’d be saying you need to do it for a little longer, but we’ve lost two others that haven’t been with us but have been performing well – Harvey Barnes and James Maddison.’