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Arsenal star admits this season ‘hardest of my career’ ahead of West Ham clash

The Arsenal success has not been ideal for everyone

Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe has admitted that this season has been the hardest of his young career so far, with the attacking midfielder having missed much of the campaign through injury.

The Gunners are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League and could stretch their gap to Manchester City back to six points should they beat West Ham on Sunday afternoon.

Smith Rowe, the club’s top goalscorer last season, has managed just 114 minutes across 9 appearances, however. One of the breakthrough stars of the 2021-22 campaign and rewarded with his first England cap and goal, the 22-year-old underwent groin surgery in October and has been recovering ever since.

Now back in the matchday squads, he has only played more than ten minutes once since January in the Premier League, with other players preferred to him from the substitutes bench.

And it has taken its toll, as the Croydon man explained on Sky Sports.

“Yeah definitely it’s been tough”, the England international revealed.

“It’s been frustrating, but obviously I’m happy with where the team are at the moment.”

With eight games to go and no cups left to play in, it is unclear just how much action Smith Rowe will see before the end of the season, especially with Eddie Nketiah returning to action to hand Mikel Arteta further options across his frontline which already includes Leandro Trossard and Fabio Vieira from the bench.

His versatility could also pose a question about where he best fits in the Arsenal side, with Gabriel Martinelli having made the left-wing his own in Smith Rowe’s absence, while the Gunners are expected to focus on adding another midfielder this summer, which could limit his chances centrally.

A return to his free-flowing form of 2022, however, could be a timely boost for the club in their bid to win a first Premier League title since 2004.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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