Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe has revealed that he was “dazzled” when he was called up to join England’s senior team after two players withdrew from the squad.
Smith Rowe’s first senior call-up came after James Ward-Prowse and Marcus Rashford withdrew from the team due to illness and fitness issues, respectively.
Speaking to Englandfootball.com about the time he received a phone call from England coach Gareth Southgate with the news, Smith Rowe said: “Gareth called me and said ‘congratulations, you’ve been called to the first team.’
“Not know what to do. I was dazzled at the time. He was stuttering, he didn’t know what to say. I just said, ‘Oh my, thank you so much.’
“I ran downstairs to my mom and told her and she couldn’t believe it. She thought he was joking. It was very emotional but she was very proud of me.
“After that, I called my dad right away to tell him the news and he was excited for me too.”
Smith Rowe had been at home at the time preparing to join the Under-21 team and admitted he was satisfied, adding: “I think it was very special to be home. It wouldn’t have been the same if he had already been out with the under-21s. It was even better because he was at home. “
Reflecting on his first two days with the senior team as Southgate prepares the squad for Friday’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Albania, Smith Rowe revealed that it feels “surreal” to be in St George’s Park training alongside players like Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker.
“It is crazy to be in the place and with all the players. I’m very happy to be here and I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can. ” continued Smith Rowe, who feels this call is his “greatest achievement” in his career so far.
Explaining what it’s like to be at St George’s Park with the senior team rather than the youth teams, Smith Rowe commented: “It’s just different. Coming to St. George’s, being in a different training ground … it’s crazy. I’m a bit speechless to be honest.
“I still don’t know what to say about it because I still haven’t realized I’m here.”