Takehiro Tomiyasu played 45 minutes for Arsenal’s under-21s as they beat Manchester United 3-1 win in their opening game of the new Premier League 2 season.
Sidelined with a thigh problem for most of the summer, the chance to play competitive football marks a positive step towards full fitness for the Japan international.
Tomiyasu missed a huge chunk of the second half of last season with two separate calf problems and finished the campaign back in the treatment room after hobbling off in the 2-0 defeat against Newcastle.
He was called up by his country for international friendlies in June but didn’t actually make it onto the pitch as his struggles continued.
On the eve of the new season, manager Mikel Arteta revealed that the ex-Bologna man was closing in on a return and predicted that he and Kieran Tierney would avoid the problems that hampered them last time out.
“The reason they got those persistent injuries are for different reasons,” explained the boss.
“Probably because the squad didn’t enable them to recover, and [we] don’t play them when it was necessary and it was too tired when they weren’t fully recovered so sometimes we had to rush them.
“It was a combination of things with those two players, they’re so pushy and willing to contribute with the team. We know that with those two fit and performing at their best, we are much stronger as a team.”
In Tomiyasu’s absence, Ben White was selected ahead of Cedric Soares to start last night’s win over Crystal Palace. Tierney came on as a late substitute and played a part in the Gunners’ second goal.
Tomiyasu wasn’t the only first team squad member to play at Boreham Wood today. Having missed out on a place on the bench at Selhurst Park, new signing Marquinhos grabbed a goal and assist.