Emile Smith-Rowe says a private chef and a change in diet has been central to his improvement for Arsenal, which has led to a first England call-up.
The 21-year-old yesterday completed his inaugural training session with the senior national side, having been called into the squad by Gareth Southgate following the withdrawals of Marcus Rashford, James Ward-Prowse and Luke Shaw.
Smith-Rowe broke into the Arsenal first-team last season and has been the key man this term, scoring five goals in all competitions and setting up another two in the Premier League. His club boss, Mikel Arteta, has spoken of how he needed to change his lifestyle to make it as a top professional.
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“I think what he was talking about was my diet, I didn't eat that well to be honest," he told reporters.
"I used to get cramp after 60 minutes and stuff. 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.
"My family have helped me a lot in the house as well, cooking for me. It was mainly my diet, nutrition and stuff like that. That's really helped me.
The club have sorted me out a chef and stuff, they come to my house now. I've tried to cut out chocolate and takeaways as much as I can. I'm always eating from home now.
"He (the chef) has got a couple of pasta dishes and that's good. Carbs and stuff. I didn't used to like fish but now I'm into it. Salmon and stuff."
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Smith-Rowe could become the fourth player from England’s 2017 Under-17 World Cup winning squad to win a senior cap, following Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
But he admits linking up with senior players like Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson has left him a little starstruck.
“It is crazy to be honest. I play against them but wearing the same training kit and passing the ball to each other...it is crazy to be alongside these great, great players.
I am a bit speechless, but you know, I am going to get used to it this week and, yeah, going to enjoy it as much as I can.
Smith-Rowe has been tipped for an England call-up for a number of months, but he says it has been “difficult” to deal with the increased attention, having made an impression following loan spells at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield. He says the latter made him a stronger player.
"I think Huddersfield was definitely a learning curve for me. It was very difficult. Really physical and stuff and I learnt so much there. But the Premier League is even harder.
“I think it helped me last season that there were not any fans. I did not have much pressure every game and stuff. This season has been difficult as well but I am happy with the way that it is going so far."
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