Arsene Wenger has praised Olivier Giroud’s positive mentality and hailed his robust physical stature as the French striker prepares for a first team return against Manchester United one month ahead of schedule.
The 28-year-old hasn’t featured since breaking his foot just moments after equalising for the Gunners in their 2-2 draw against Everton but could be used off the bench on Saturday having spent two weeks in full training.
“He’s ahead of schedule by at least three weeks,” Wenger reiterated in his pre-game Friday press conference. “We planned for him to be back in January.
“He’s not there yet on the competition front but he’s in decent physical shape. He’s a bit short [of fitness] but he worked very hard to be back early and it worked.
“The surgery went well, he had no setbacks during his rehab and he’s got a naturally solid structure. He is very solid and heals very well. He also has a positive mentality. He’s always positive and that helps as well.”
Positive he may be, but in an interview conducted with the Evening Standard Giroud revealed that spending so long on the sidelines has ‘pissed’ him off.
“Everyone asks if it is boring being injured,” he reflected. “The answer is yes, it is very boring but it’s mostly frustrating. It’s pissing me off! Is it a bit informal to say “pissing me off”?”
“I have two screws in it [ankle] but I have no pain. So hopefully I’ll be back ahead of schedule. I feel very sharp and fit.”
Giroud went on to talk about life as a footballer – tattoos, bright boots, eating in nice restaurants, making the front page of The Sun in his pants, earning big dosh – before taking a moment to reflect on his status as a role model.
“Sometimes I see it [my hair style] on the younger kids. They try to do a big quiff with very short sides. It’s always great to be an example to the young players.”
We’d love to thing Olivier made that comment with a cheeky ‘yes I know how ridiculous that sounds’ look in his eye, but we know the man is very serious about his head folicles. And in fairness, they are pretty special. As Arsene said, ‘he’s in decent physical shape.’