Martin Keown says Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe ‘unfortunate’ to be left out of England squad instead of Jesse Lingard

West Ham United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at The London Stadium, in east London on February 21, 2021.
Lingard is back in the England squad (Picture: AFP via Getty)

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.

Lingard, meanwhile, has been rejuvenated since leaving Manchester United to join West Ham on loan in January.

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.

Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on March 14, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
Smith Rowe has impressed Keown (Picture: Getty)

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.

Martin Keown before the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Portsmouth FC and Arsenal FC at Fratton Park on March 02, 2020 in Portsmouth, England.
Keown is a fan of Smith Rowe (Picture: Getty)

‘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.’

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