Emile Smith Rowe’s fitness issues continue to be a head-scratcher for player and club with Mikel Arteta admitting the midfielder hasn’t been able to train pain-free.
Unable to feature during pre-season due to a groin issue, the 22-year-old gradually stepped up his load with four appearances off the bench before relapsing in the aftermath of the defeat to Manchester United.
It’s currently unclear when he might return to action but is set to miss Sunday’s trip to Brentford and faces a race against time to be available for the north London derby at the start of October.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Arteta of the situation.
“He’s a kid that loves playing. It’s the biggest thing in his life. And when he’s not capable of doing that, especially after the run of games and performances that he had with us the year before, it’s just difficult.
“When he’s been trying to train he’s not been feeling 100 per cent fit or pain-free. This is the main concern and we have to find a solution to that.”
Smith Rowe struggled with a number of injuries as he made his way through the Arsenal academy but managed to get a run of games under his belt for Huddersfield on loan in 2020 that persuaded the Gunners to bring him back into the fold.
Even then he had to overcome a shoulder issue before being thrown in the deep by Arteta end on Boxing Day that year.
For the best part of a year, he played freely (and brilliantly) but in the second half of last season, he clearly wasn’t himself.
“It’s an ongoing issue,” said Arteta of the most recent problem.
“He’s had some discomfort in the groin and hasn’t had any continuity this season. We’re trying to help him. We need him at his best because he’s such an important player for us.”
It has been suggested in some quarters that Smith Rowe might require surgery but you’d imagine he’ll want to avoid that at the moment if he’s to have any chance of making England’s World Cup squad.
He hasn’t been selected by the Three Lions for the last couple of squads and it looks increasingly likely he may spend the winter months at London Colney rather than Qatar.
So much potential, hope this is just growing pains and he emerges stronger and fitter and can do lots more of the great stuff he did last season.
I hope so. He’s now, what, 22 last July so I’m not sure we can put down his absences to that for too much longer. It may just be a run of bad luck. I hope he’s not becoming injury-prone though as he has obvious potential to be a very fine player as we glimpsed last season – but that’s only valuable if it’s realised.
It would be stupid if he chose gambling on a world cup slot over his fitness if surgery was the best option.
For a guaranteed starter in the national team you can imagine the logic in it but for someone who’s in and out of the squad?
At 21, take care of your body first and with the talent he has the tournaments will surely be plenty ahead
Sorry for upsetting everyone with a fact!!!
Exactly. If he needs surgery better to have it done now and be back and ready to go in the 2nd half of the season.
To add to your point even more, I wouldn’t even say he is “in and out of the squad” he has 3 caps so he’s less then that status in all honesty.
The lad needs time to grow and develop.There’s a tendency to forget just how young these youngsters actually are. We need to keep adding to the squad to ensure that they don’t suffer unnecessary injuries and burnout.
That said, Arsenal won the League Title in 1989 with skipper Tony Adams at 22, David Rocastle, Michael Thomas and Martin Hayes at 21 and Paul Merson at 20 – albeit without European football to additionally contend with.
If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
I hope he comes through this period as soon as possible; there is a great player in there.
He’s still young. He needs to focus on recovery, and taking care about his body before thinking about playing. Best to just lay off of all training and take some time off, doesn’t sound like he’s had must rest since he jumped on the scene.
Quick recovery Smith
Just gives me Wilshere dejavu-trauma…
I know it is not a popular comparison to bring up. But if there is a hit of Wilshere history in ESR what can we then learn from it? How do we do everything possible to protect him the best not to repeat history?
Spuds look really strong. They remind me of the Chelsea squad of Drogba and Lampard and Terry and co. Strong, aggresive and ruthless even if not the most pleasing to watch. They will give City run for the title
Bollocks to the Spuds. I couldn’t care less about them.
The sooner they and their crap stadium sink to the Earth’s core and become part of a 70’s Doug McClure film involving dinosaurs, volcanoes and quicksand, the better.
But only after we’ve finished humiliating them first.