Arsenal’s Hale End academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka shine as England hammer San Marino

The boys from Hale End didn’t disappoint on the big stage, once again underlining the strength of Arsenal’s academy.
Emile Smith Rowe of England celebrates after scoring their team’s seventh goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between San Marino and England. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty ImagesEmile Smith Rowe of England celebrates after scoring their team’s seventh goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between San Marino and England. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images
Emile Smith Rowe of England celebrates after scoring their team’s seventh goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between San Marino and England. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Arsenal’s Hale End academy proved itself once again as two graduates, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, played starring roles in England’s 10-0 demolition of San Marino.

The goals kept flowing for England as they secured World Cup qualification and signed off a wonderful 2021 with the 10-0 victory away from home.

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Harry Maguire set England on their way, leaving his domestic woes behind, scoring a powerful header in the 6th minute, his second goal in two games.

On a night where records were broken, Maguire overtook former Chelsea and England captain John Terry to become England’s highest ever goal-scoring defender.

Smith Rowe, who hadn’t even made his Arsenal debut a year ago, made his first ever England start as he came into the lineup after coming off the bench in Friday’s convincing win over Albania.

Emile Smith Rowe of England  in action during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between San Marino and England. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty ImagesEmile Smith Rowe of England  in action during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between San Marino and England. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images
Emile Smith Rowe of England in action during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between San Marino and England. Credit: Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

The Croydon De Bruyne, as he’s known, has gone from strength to strength under Mikel Arteta, and he’s the latest graduate from the Hale End academy to look like a world-beater.

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Standing at 6ft, and with a lean body, Smith Rowe has the perfect build for an attacking midfielder, and as he glides around the pitch, beating players for fun with the ball glued to his feet, it’s clear to see he’s got all the credentials to mature into a special player.

Saka is more well established, and despite being a year younger than Smith Rowe, has more than twice as many Arsenal appearances.

The 20-year-old has 70 appearances for the Gunners, whilst 21-year-old Smith Rowe has 33.

Smith Rowe joined Arsenal’s academy in 2010 and had a loan spell in Germany with RB Leipzig.

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He also dropped down a division to the Championship, where he dazzled at Huddersfield Town.

Saka’s career at Arsenal has been a bit more plain sailing.

The youngster was on the books at Watford before joining Hale End, and has only ever played for Arsenal.

Saka has been deployed as a left back, left winger, right winger and central midfielder at Arsenal, under both Unai Emery and Arteta.

England’s midfielder Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring  his side’s 10th goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between San Marino and England. Credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty ImagesEngland’s midfielder Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring  his side’s 10th goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between San Marino and England. Credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images
England’s midfielder Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring his side’s 10th goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between San Marino and England. Credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images
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His versatility is one of his key attributes, and makes him such a vital cog in the Arsenal and England set-up.

Smith Rowe is not as versatile but can play in central midfield, left wing and as an attacking midfielder.

As he enjoys his breakout season, we’re still yet to determine what position can get the best out of the Croydon native.

Both started England’s win against San Marino, with Smith Rowe grabbing a goal and an assist, with Saka scoring a goal, and almost claimed a second, but it went down as an own goal by San Marino’s Fillipo Fabbri.

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Folarin Balogun is another one who could make it big, the striker, originally from New York in the USA represents England at u21 level and is touted as a future potential star.

Charlie Patino has often impressed those who have watched him. The 18-year-old only turned 18 last month, yet is already labelled as a top prospect.

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