Emile Smith Rowe quit Nando’s, chocolate and mum’s cooking as Arsenal chef helps propel starlet to England squad


Emile Smith Rowe quit Nando’s, chocolate and mum’s cooking as Arsenal chef helps propel starlet to England squad

EMILE SMITH ROWE has broken into the England squad after ditching Nando’s, chocolate bars — and his mum’s cooking. Arsenal have dispatched a per

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EMILE SMITH ROWE has broken into the England squad after ditching Nando’s, chocolate bars — and his mum’s cooking.

Arsenal have dispatched a personal chef to the home Smith Rowe shares with his mother Fiona, who has been elbowed out of her own kitchen to improve her son’s diet.

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Emile Smith Rowe can’t wait to make his England debut[/caption]


The Arsenal star has been rewarded for his fine club form with a first call-up[/caption]

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta claims his No10’s outstanding recent form — five goals in his last eight games — has been down to an improvement in his lifestyle.

And Smith Rowe, 21, admitted: “I think he was talking about my diet. I didn’t used to eat that well. I used to get cramp after 60 minutes.

“I wasn’t eating great, I wasn’t drinking that well, before games I wasn’t really that hydrated but since then I’ve tried to focus so much on it.

“There’s loads of stuff we should be drinking before a game but before I was a bit too lazy.

“It was mainly my diet, nutrition and stuff like that. That’s really helped me. The club have sorted me out a chef, Chris, and he comes to my house every day.

“He’s got a couple of pasta dishes and that’s good for carbs. I didn’t used to like fish but now I am into it — salmon and stuff.

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Smith Rowe credits changing his diet with his fantastic club form[/caption]


The Gunners star is ready to impress Gareth Southgate[/caption]


“I live with my mum. She normally cooks but she doesn’t have to cook any more. She wants the best for me and if that’s what I’ve got to do, I’ll do that.

“Clubs are strict (about diet) but I didn’t listen to be honest, I think that’s where I went wrong. But now I’m  listening, all the time.”

Asked what his guilty pleasures were, Smith Rowe replied: “Chocolate and I like Nando’s a lot. Maybe that’s killing me a little bit.

“I’ve tried to cut out chocolate and takeaways as much as I can. I’m always eating from home now.”

Smith Rowe — a south Londoner nicknamed ‘The Croydon De Bruyne’ — has enjoyed a meteoric rise since catching the eye in the 3-1 victory over Chelsea last Boxing Day.

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Chelsea stars Reece James and Ben Chilwell will be hoping to see some action on Friday[/caption]

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Phil Foden looks set for another nod in England’s attack[/caption]

That result probably saved Arteta from the sack after a disastrous run of results and it saw Smith Rowe become a fixture in the first team.

But the softly-spoken youngster is happy to admit he used to suffer from serious stage fright playing in front of crowds and behind-closed-doors football was a major plus point as he established himself as an Arsenal regular.

Smith Rowe said: “Before that Chelsea game, I played in the Europa League, getting opportunities here and there. I was not  supposed to start the game but in the hotel the gaffer called me and said can we have a chat a couple of hours before the game.

“He told me that I was actually starting. That was a bit crazy.

“It was a big game but having no fans definitely helped me. I’m always really nervous before the game and not having that pressure of everyone shouting, that helped me a lot.

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Raheem Sterling remains central to Southgate’s plans[/caption]

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Aaron Ramsdale is in the fold after becoming Arsenal’s No1[/caption]

“Now fans are back, I’m quite surprised that it’s worked out this way. I thought I wouldn’t be as confident as I am. It’s always extra special playing at the Emirates anyway.

“Maybe two seasons ago, just before I went to RB Leipzig (on loan), my nervousness was affecting me. I think now I’m OK. I haven’t really changed anything.

“I think I’m always really nervous in the changing room before a game. Maybe it helps, maybe it’s a good thing.”

Smith Rowe had loan spells  at Bundesliga side Leipzig and  Huddersfield in the Championship either side of a first-team debut under caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg  who had been his  academy coach and mentor.

But as a primary school kid, he had failed a trial at Chelsea for being ‘really skinny and just getting pushed off the ball all the time’.

Richard Pelham / The Sun

John Stones is set to shore up England’s defence after breaking back into Man City’s XI[/caption]

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Southgate will continue to rely on captain Harry Kane to be his main man[/caption]

Smith Rowe added: “I think Spurs were interested when I was about 15 or 16. I wasn’t that interested to be honest, being an Arsenal fan!”

The Arsenal kid was a member of England’s victorious Under-17 World Cup-winning squad four years ago, when he roomed with Phil Foden.

The pair are now reunited in the senior squad ahead of Friday’s qualifier against Albania at Wembley.

He said: “Phil and I were looking at the photos earlier actually from our Under-17 days. We were laughing at our haircuts.”

Foden is one of a clutch of exciting attacking talents with whom Smith Rowe must compete for an England shirt ahead of clashes with Albania and San Marino away, which should secure qualification for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Smith Rowe was talked up by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate last month but admits his senior call-up, in place of the injured  Marcus Rashford, has come sooner than he would have imagined.

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All eyes will be on England when they face Albania on Friday[/caption]


Southgate will also be focused on Monday’s game against San Marino[/caption]

He said: “I didn’t think that I would be involved so soon. It’s my first proper full season in the  Premier League. When Gareth spoke about me it definitely gave me extra motivation.

“I didn’t think he would be talking about me so soon. It’s great when you have got the manager talking about you. It’s hard not to look at it.

“But I just try to keep my head down because when I do put too much pressure on myself, things start to go wrong.”