Just one day after Eddie Nketiah scored twice on his home debut, another one of our talented youngsters was excelling on the other side of the world.
A key member of England’s Under-17 squad, academy forward Emile Smith Rowe claimed an assist in their World Cup semi-final win over Brazil on Wednesday.
European champions Spain stand in Smith’s way of lifting the trophy in Kolkata on Saturday but, after England Under-20s’ World Cup success over the summer, Arsène Wenger is sensing a shift in power in youth international football.
“I know Emile Smith Rowe well because he has trained with us sometimes,” he told Arsenal Player. “That he’s a very determined boy who’s very direct, who has very strong physical qualities as well. He has a good understanding of the game.
“You could say what emerges is a consistent quality of results for English youth teams and that was not the case,” added Wenger.
“You go from the under-21s, the under-20s, the under-19s, the under-17s. There’s something going on in England which is the result of the restructuring of their academies and the quality of the work they have done. Sometimes the Premier League and the FA don’t get any credit, and I would like to congratulate them on that.
“Now we’re at the final step and it’s maybe the biggest one, which is to integrate all these young boys into the Premier League. You think you have 20 Premier League clubs with 40 players each, and that makes 800 players.
“Of course not all of them can play in the Premier League, but there’s a small percentage, maybe two per cent, who can play. In my opinion, there’s between 20 and 40 players who will play in the Premier League.”
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