Unai Emery has stressed the importance of Laurent Koscielny after the captain made his long-awaited comeback in the 1-0 win over Qarabag on Thursday night.
The 33 year old played 72 minutes and looked delighted to be back out on the pitch after a long rehabilitation from what was a very serious injury.
His return is timely for the Spaniard too however, as he’s without Rob Holding for the rest of the season after his cruciate ligament injury, and in the very short term both Mustafi and Sokratis are suspended for Sunday’s visit to Southampton.
Speaking ahead of that game, Emery said, “It’s very important for us to have Laurent Koscielny back because he’s our captain, he has experience.
He’s, for us, one important player in the group. Him coming back is very important for us because he’s been training with us for the past month.
“But we also need to start with him helping us on the pitch in the games, and it’s very important for us that he can play with us.”
Emery will have the advice of his medical team who will assess his reaction to playing competitive football again, but in the medium term they believe there’s no reason why he can’t get back to his best.
Speaking on the brilliant new documentary, ‘Laurent Koscielny | Stronger‘ – available on the official website, club doctor Gary O’Driscoll is very positive about the recovery he’s made.
“It’s not very easy to say this, but actually an enforced period of rehabilitation and recuperation can actually help a player extend his career and help a player to concentrate on areas of his career that potentially could have been improved,” he said.
“His speed, his pace, his agility, his endurance. So, while we can’t say for certain that he’ll come back, with all our markers at the moment there is no deficit there whatsoever at this stage.
“In fact, in certain areas he’s looking stronger. His attitude is so positive, we’re all so positive and there’s no reason to believe whatsoever that he can’t become the player he was, if not better.”
Fingers crossed, and do check out the film if you have a chance, it’s well worth your time.
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