Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has, on Sunday evening, provided an update on the wellbeing of midfield star Declan Rice.
For those who may have missed it, Rice, a big-money summer arrival at Arsenal, set pulses racing across the Gunners fanbase earlier today.
This came upon the England international being forced into a premature departure from the club’s North London Derby showdown with Tottenham Hotspur.
En route to an eventual 2-2 stalemate, Rice lasted just 45 minutes, before being hooked at the interval owing to a fitness concern.
Speaking to the media post-match, the subject of his engine room enforcer’s situation was therefore inevitably put to the aforementioned Mikel Arteta.
And, in a boost for the Arsenal faithful, the club’s headmaster went on to quell fears surrounding the possibility of an extended incoming spell on the sidelines.
Instead, Arteta revealed that Rice was simply suffering with ‘discomfort in his back’:
‘He had some discomfort in his back, and he was telling us during the first half that he wasn’t comfortable. When we assessed him at half-time, he couldn’t continue, so we had to change him.’
Pressed further on the chances of a long-term absence for the 24-year-old, Arteta added:
‘Hopefully not, but we have to assess him. It’s strange that a player like him asks to come off, because he wasn’t uncomfortable. Hopefully not, but we’ll see.’