Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe has revealed that he felt “starstruck” when he received the call-up to join England’s senior team after two players withdrew from the squad.
Smith Rowe’s maiden senior call-up came after James Ward-Prowse and Marcus Rashford withdrew from the squad due to illness and fitness issues respectively.
Speaking to Englandfootball.com about the moment that he received a phone call from England manager – Gareth Southgate with the news, Smith Rowe said: “Gareth called me and said ‘congratulations, you have been called up to the first team.’
“I didn’t know what to do. I was starstruck at the time. I was stuttering, I didn’t know what to say. I just said ‘O wow, thank you so much.’
“I ran downstairs to my mum and told her and she couldn’t believe it. She thought I was joking. It was very emotional but she was very proud of me.
“After that I called my dad straight away to tell him the news and he was buzzing for me as well.”
Smith Rowe had been at home at the time preparing to join up with the U21s squad which he admitted that he was pleased with, as he added: “I think it was extra special that I was at home. It wouldn’t have been the same if I had been away with the under-21s already. It was even better because I was at home.”
Reflecting on his first two days with the senior team as Southgate prepares the squad for Friday’s home 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Albania, Smith Rowe revealed that it feels “surreal” to be at St George’s Park training alongside players like Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker.
“It’s crazy just being around the place and with all the players. I am so happy to be here and I am just going to enjoy it as much as I can.” continued Smith Rowe who feels that this call-up is his “biggest achievement” in his career so far.
Explaining what it is like being at St George’s Park with the senior squad instead of the youth teams, Smith Rowe commented: “It is just different. Coming to St. George’s, being on a different training pitch…it is crazy. I am a bit speechless to be honest.
“I don’t know what to say about it all yet because it still hasn’t really sunk in yet that I am actually here.”