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Southgate: Saka, Smith Rowe Breath Of Fresh Air For Arsenal

Southgate: Saka, Smith Rowe Breath Of Fresh Air For Arsenal

England manager Gareth Southgate has labelled Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe a ‘breath of fresh air’ for Arsenal.

Southgate namechecked both youngsters as he expressed his delight at the increased opportunities given to homegrown players.

Saka has emerged as one of Arsenal’s most important players with six goals and five assists in 2020/21.

Smith Rowe, meanwhile, has been a revelation having made his first-team breakthrough this season after a successful loan spell at Championship club Huddersfield.

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Phil Foden, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Curtis Jones and Tariq Lamptey are among a host of other promising domestic players to have impressed in the top-flight this season.

“Eighteen or so months ago, every Saturday we were about 30 per cent of the league, English qualified players,” Southgate said on talkSPORT’s Sports Breakfast show on Tuesday.

“This year that’s up to 40 per cent and that doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you think that the likes of perhaps an Emile Smith Rowe getting his opportunity at Arsenal, we know those kids are there, we know the talent is there.

“But of course, when the buying and spending power of the clubs is greater than anything around Europe and the pressure is on to have immediate success, it’s much easier and quicker to go and buy a finished product from abroad, who’s got a handful of a couple of seasons behind them.

“So there was always this blockage for young English players going in. Now, they’re getting their chance and showing [what they can do].

“The boys at Arsenal for example, Saka and Smith Rowe, have been a huge breath of fresh air in their team. There are more across the country if they get the opportunity.”

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  • Prince 5 months ago

    Southgate no dey talk about Tammy Abraham again ooooo
    Eyah !!!

    I hope Eze dey watch all this !!!