Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has, on Saturday, provided a fresh insight into the wellbeing of Emile Smith Rowe.
Versatile midfielder Smith Rowe, of course, has endured something of a nightmare campaign to date.
Owing to an ongoing groin issue, the 22-year-old has been restricted to a quartet of appearances across all competitions, totalling a measly 48 minutes on the pitch.
Smith Rowe, in turn, ultimately opted to go under the knife late in September, in a bid to solve the problem once and for all.
Ahead of Arsenal’s post-World Cup return to action last week, it had been suggested that Smith Rowe could go on to feature in some capacity, after being spotted back in first-team training across December.
It therefore came as a major source of disappointment for those of a Gunners persuasion when, instead, the English international was completely absent from the club’s matchday squads to face all of face West Ham, Brighton and Newcastle.
As alluded to above, though, this evening, a fresh insight into ESR’s wellbeing has been provided.
And the news will come as music to the ears of Arsenal supporters the world over.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Mikel Arteta was drawn on Smith Rowe’s fitness level, ahead of his side’s FA Cup trip to Oxford United on Monday night.
And the Spanish tactician went on to confirm that, should he manage to train without issue on Sunday, then Arsenal’s attacking gem could well mark his comeback at the Kassam Stadium.
“Emile can play as an attacking midfielder, as a winger and even as a nine; I think he’s played there before,” Arteta began.
“First of all we need him fit and at his best. When we have that we have an incredible player that we have missed a lot in the last few months. If he trains tomorrow, hopefully he will be available to give us something in the game.”