Gareth Southgate says midfielder Emile Smith Rowe will be “involved” when England host Albania in a World Cup qualifier on Friday (Match betting – England 1/8, draw 7/1, Albania 22/1).
Smith Rowe (13/2 – Anytime goalscorer) was drafted into the England squad after James Ward-Prowse and Declan Rice had to withdraw earlier this week.
The Arsenal academy graduate, who has represented England at every age group from under-16s to under-21s, has netted five goals for the Gunners this term, including one in each of his past three Premier League appearances.
Southgate insists Smith Rowe has been invited into the camp just to make up numbers and suggested the 19-year-old will get some game time on Friday.
“We have brought him here to be involved in the team, with a view to being involved in the two matches,” Southgate said.
“He has settled really well. His quality has been apparent in the way that he has trained, so he is ready. We have enjoyed having him with us this week already.”
Jack Grealish has been deemed fit after a bout of illness, but Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount and Manchester United defender Luke Shaw are both doubts.
Southgate added: “Mason’s got to recover from dental surgery and Shaw has to pass concussion markers – in the first part of the week he didn’t pass those. The longer it goes the less likely it is.
“Jack’s had some illness and missed some training but he’s trained with the rest of the group. He’s available and ready if required.”
England (7/1 – 2022 World Cup outright) currently lead the way in Group I and are in the driving seat for automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup.
They require four points from their final two games against Albania and San Marino, however, a win on Friday could also be enough if Poland fail to beat Andorra.