Emile Smith Rowe has revealed that the groin injury that required surgery in September has been causing him issues since he was 18.
Handed his debut by Unai Emery, the midfielder had six first team appearances to his name when his groin struggles began in November 2018 and he spent the first half of 2019 on the sidelines, including the majority of a loan spell with RB Leipzig.
He was still working his way back to full fitness when the 2019/20 campaign began but didn’t start playing regular senior football until a successful spell at Huddersfield Town. A shoulder injury added to Emile’s misery on his return but he finally came good in the second half of the 2020/21 season adding much-needed energy to Mikel Arteta’s midfield.
He continued to hold down a regular place in the starting lineup until this time last year at which point his minutes were regulated and he featured more as an impact sub. Something clearly wasn’t right and when he ended up missing most of pre-season, alarm bells started to ring.
succumbed accepted the need for an operation after a significant setback during the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United but is now fit and feeling positive about the future.
“A lot of people might not know, but I have had this injury since I was 18/19,” he told Arsenal.com.
“It has been quite hard to deal with it over the years. But I am really happy that it is just finally over. I had a successful surgery and I am really feeling really good.”
Following a four-month lay-off, Smith Rowe finally returned to first team action as a substitute in last night’s 3-0 win over Oxford United.
The 22-year-old now hopes to make an impact in the second half of the season having had a frustrating watching brief while his teammates have excelled.
“It’s really good to be back on the pitch with my teammates,” he said.
“It’s been difficult being out for this long – I don’t think I’ve had this [long a lay-off] before – but at the same time, we are top of the league and playing really well, so I can’t complain! I am just going to kick on from here.”
Despite not being able to play, manager Mikel Arteta has been sure to stay in close contact with Smith Rowe, who even sat in on pre-game tactical discussions when he wasn’t doing rehabilitation sessions abroad.
“I was pretty much with them from the start after surgery. I was in all the meetings, trying to keep up with the knowledge and learnings every day that we needed to apply in training,” he said.