Mikel Arteta has spoken to the press ahead of our trip to Switzerland to take on FC Zurich, and admitted that Emile Smith Rowe will be left behind.
The midfielder is yet to start a match since the new season begun, but has come off the bench on four occasion. With both Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard having been thoroughly impressive in 2022, it is no surprise that the Englishman has been forced to occupy the bench, but the boss now seems to claim that he has been struggling with his fitness.
ESR would likely have been expected to be amongst those to come into the teamsheet had he been fit tomorrow however, but Arteta insists that he has left him behind as he has been struggling ‘for a few weeks’ now.
“He felt discomfort in an area that [he’s been dealing with] now for a few weeks,” Mikel told Arsenal Media today. “He wasn’t comfortable after the game and he hasn’t trained in the last few days, so he’s out of the squad.”
I have felt a little sorry for Smith Rowe who has had to settle for very little playing time, but this news gives me mixed emotions. On one note, his absence will be understood by the player, and works as an explanation for his very limited minutes. On the other hand it is a big reason to be worried about his long-term future, as he seems to have spent a large chunk of his career out struggling with injuries, a real problem for our young star.
We are lucky to be blessed with options in those attacking areas, but ESR has so much potential, and a run without injuries could have seen him close in on a place in the England squad for the World Cup, something that now seems impossible.
Am I alone in being worried about his long-term future? Would a fully fit ESR be able to challenge for a first-team role in our current squad?
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