PREDICTION: Arsenal's Future England National Team Core
In the past, Arsenal have had a notable presence in the England national squad. In 2002, four England players occupied the England World cup squad. David Seaman, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and Martin Keown. In England's 2014 World cup squad, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere boarded the plane representing Arsenal. By 2018, Arsenal had just one player on the plane, Danny Welbeck. This decline is partly due to the drop-off in quality Arsenal have undoubtedly experienced in recent years. But also due to the club's willingness to explore signing players abroad, which usually come at a cheaper cost compared to the English players tending to carry a 'premium'. However, in Bukayo Saka's selection in this summer's England Euros squad, a future path for Arsenal's young crop of English talent has appeared. Emile Smith RoweEmile Smith Rowe is a young attacking midfielder who has come into his own for Arsenal this season. He got his opportunity in December with Arsenal struggling for creativity massively and it would be unfair to not say the youngster has transformed Arsenal's season. Quick feet, the ability to drive with the ball, and intelligence with his movement that just comes naturally to some players. Smith Rowe has all the tools to one day break into this England team.The position is very well stocked for England, there's no doubt. Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Phil Foden all currently occupy England spots. However, the talent and potential of Emile Smith Rowe will likely make it extremely difficult to keep him out of the squad in the coming years. Joe WillockJoe Willock is another young Arsenal midfielder. He spent the January-May period of the season at Newcastle, making a huge impact and playing a vital role in their survival in the Premier League. With goals in seven consecutive matches towards the end of the season, Willock equaled legendary striker Alan Shearer's record of goals in consecutive games in the Premier League era for Newcastle. Picking up the Premier League player of the month award in the process also. Understandably, the Magpies (or 'Maggies' as Willock dubbed them) want the young Englishman back at the club for the next season but it remains to be seen whether he will play a role for Arsenal. Unlike Smith Rowe, Willock is a deeper midfielder. He has previously drawn comparisons to former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, with his tendency to arrive late in the box and score. While possessing a natural ability to find attacking positions, the midfielder also possesses physical traits which make him a very active box-to-box player. Impressive stamina and power makes Willock a very useful asset to any team, including England.Folarin BalogunBefore we say anything about Folarin Balogun, it's important to note he has not made a final decision to represent England in his international career yet. Balogun was born in New York and migrated to London at just two years old, qualifying him to play for both the USA and England. His parents were born in Nigeria, also qualifying him for the Super Eagles. Balogun has made appearances for both England and USA at youth level, but most recently for England suggesting that may be who he chooses to represent. Advert InsertedBalogun made his first appearances for Arsenal this season, being rewarded for his thoroughly impressive youth level goal-scoring record. He certainly took his chance, managing to rack up three direct goal contributions in just 63 minutes of game-time in the Europa League. However, his minutes on the pitch soon fell away with speculation over his contract mounting and the club seemingly resigned to losing the youngster. But alas, Mikel Arteta would convince the striker his future lay at the Emirates and the contract was signed, much to the delight of the Arsenal fanbase. Balogun possesses a very well-rounded skill-set. He is a clinical and composed finisher and knows the right positions to take up. His talent doesn't all lie with his goal-scoring though. Throughout his youth career, he has demonstrated his ability to run with the ball at his feet, often beating multiple players before beating the keeper. He also has the physique to play with his back to goal. Against Dundalk he showed this, receiving the ball on his chest in the box, holding off the defender before laying it off for Joe Willock to finish. Past Harry Kane, it's fair to say England's striking options are not of the highest quality. If Balogun does choose England and can lock down a starting spot for Arsenal in the coming years, there is no doubt a place in the England squad beckons. Arsenal's presence in the England squad will soon returnWith such a talented crop of English talent, there is no doubt Arsenal players will feature in future England squads. The path Bukayo Saka is trailblazing will surely inspire his club teammates to stake their claim in the coming seasons. This comes with only positives for Arsenal and for their young core, only brightness awaits.
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