Sunday, June 16, 2024

Jesus: I can’t remember when I last played without pain

For the second season in a row, Gabriel Jesus has been hampered by knee problems that have stopped him building the momentum and confidence he needs to show his true colours.

While the Brazil international has made 28 appearances for Arsenal this campaign, three separate spells on the sidelines have left Mikel Arteta with no choice but to experiment up front. Thankfully, the Spaniard has struck gold deploying Kai Havertz as a number 9 in recent weeks but it has meant Jesus, again fit enough to start matches, has been shunted out to the wing.

Ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich, Jesus reflected on a frustrating period, saying: “Normally I don’t talk about this and I don’t want to talk about my fitness, like what’s going on with Gabi’s fitness, but you know after the World Cup, I had that injury in the knee and then I recovered so good.

“But then I had a setback in pre-season, had to go and have it opened again, a small one [procedure] and then after I came back, I played three games in a row [all] 90 minutes, then again the knee [had problems] and then in training, I had a kick on my knee. It’s another side, these kind of things people don’t know.

He added: “I’m just trying to get fit and help Arsenal as soon and as much as I can, but unfortunately, I’ve had problems this season. I hope next season, I don’t have it.”

Asked if he’s still struggling with his knee, he continued: “Sometimes I feel it, but I don’t remember the last day I played football without pain so I cannot complain. I’m just trying to recover good to be ready for the next game and that’s it. Mentally, I try to keep strong in my mind to help the team.”

Jesus will surely be hoping to regain his starting berth as a central striker, all the more so given Mikel Arteta and Edu lured from Manchester City with that promise.

If the player is frustrated at once again being asked to play out wide, he’s not showing it. In fact, with so much on the line for the club in the next six weeks, he’s happy to put his ego to one side and says other players in the squad in similar situations are doing the same.

“The last two games, I try to help the team. In this part of the season, you don’t have to think about yourself, you know. You have to think about what’s the best for the team, so I’m trying to do it but it’s not easy.

“If you play football, you know what I’m talking about but I just want to win so I want to be on the pitch of course.

“But like I said, in this part of the season, you have to put away your ego and then try to help the team in the best way.”

He added: “I just help in the best way, and then do what the manager asks, wants, and then help the team in the best way.

“Obviously it’s not easy for, but not only for me, but for Eddie [Nketiah] as well. Eddie, if you see the way he works, it’s unbelievable. And Kai is amazing, having amazing games, scoring, and helping a lot.

“That’s the price you have to pay to be in a huge club. You have to fight to play.

“If you want to play, the best way is to try to help when you get a chance or, like in my case, the manager wants me to play as a winger.”

While there are no suggestions Arsenal will look to move on from Jesus in the summer, the striker is well aware that the Gunners are likely to be in the market for someone who will provide even more competition in his preferred position.

Asked whether he can use the next few weeks to dissuade Arteta and Edu from signing a new striker, he replied:

“They already know if they want one or not. This question maybe is not for me, it’s for them. My job is to try to work, to train hard, to improve what I have to improve. And in the games, try to help Arsenal win games and then after, obviously, win trophies.

“The speculation always will be there. Not only here, but every club. So people want to decide who the club want to sign. This is happening not just in Arsenal but a lot of clubs.”

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C.B.

I watched it, it was a painful interview.

Ebo

Strange, I didn’t get a sense from the games that he was suffering so much, nor did I think he cared so much whether he’s on the wing or at the 9. The injury stuff is understandable but I always thought he’s like Kai or Trossard in that he doesn’t care so much where he plays, only that he plays. Really hope he can learn to enjoy playing on the wing because he looks dangerous there too, him winning the penalty at Brighton was absolutely crucial to opening the deadlock. Kai is hard to argue against right now as the… Read more »

Pigaroulettes

Poor lad, he’s way too young to have to deal with all of this. For a good portion of last year, the team was not the same without him. Offense lacked his creative spark. But the arrivals of Trossard and the Havertz made him a little less indispensable. I still feel like we need him, but I’d be ok with trading hip away if he wants to be a starter (although I think he’s a perfect player to be a back-up at CF and on the wing). I’d be more comfortable in selling Nketiah who could have a solid premier… Read more »

Rick_Sanchez

I like Jesus, I really do, but as of right now I see him more as a squad player than a fix starter even when fully healthy.

Dr. Gooner

Sign of the times, eh? That was unthinkable just 1 year ago. Evolution.

cephas

Jesus didn’t need to tell me this, every time I see him on the tele he looks like he’s in pain. Dude always looks like he’s trying to pass an incredibly difficult bowel movement.

Spanner

He needs to do a bit less dribbling to nowhere and getting tackled. A few quicker passes and he wouldn’t be getting quite so many impacts which probably aren’t helping him recover much. A bit less charging around too.

Joker

Appropriate name.

Goonshow

Hear hear.

Frosty

Dude won us the penalty that kick-started our win with his ‘dribbling to nowhere’.

It Is What It Is

You tool

PeteyB

That’s kinda part of his game though. Quite hard to take that out of people. Wilshere had similar issues

UzesGooner

Probably gotta cash in tbh ….

BillyKrystal

This is very unpopular but emotions aside it’s probably the right thing to do. Other than ESR who is an option to sell that we’d get a fee? Bring in someone who can play as a 9 or out wide. And another midfielder if Kai will be more of an official 9.

Karl g

I’m not sure you can cash in on an injury record like that. Hopefully he will get a proper rest in the summer instead of wasting it on internationals.

Snc

He can deputize in both CF and wing role. Did extremely well against Citeh at home this season on the RW. Worked tirelessly for the team.

BillW

Agree, surprising to me that so many seem ready to move on from him. With the emergence of Havertz as a 9 he isn’t relied on nearly as much and provides quality depth at any of the front 3 positions. Hopefully he doesn’t get over worked in the Copa America and can get fully healthy in the summer.

Goonshow

It’s the Insta-grat generation – where you’re only as good as your last game… and that, only if you smashed two into the top corner in rapid succession.
They don’t see the constant working off the ball, the running of smart attacking angles, the harassing of defenders to create space for team-mates, sprinting back 35m to make a defensive tackle… the hold-up play when we need to regather…

The bloke is a huge asset, on and off the ball – yes, he needs to be more clinical with his finishing, but I’d have in the side any day.

Dr. Gooner

Well said. Sometimes there’s such a gap between how a player is reviewed based on a moment in the match which is completely at odds with his value during 99.9% of that match. Yes, football is a moments kind of sport and those moments have an oversized impact on a single match, but it’s the performances over the course of a season that win the trophies. Jesus, like Saka, is a key player for us, even when not fully fit.

Dlo

Likely the same people saying we don’t need him were throwing Havertz in the rubbish bin a few weeks ago. He’s a great talent and I think we’d be worse without him. And on an emotional level, to me he represents the “new” Arsenal

Rincewind

This is the answer. Rest him, keep him, he is a linchpin of the new Arsenal.

Goonshow

Diamond geeza – one can only pray that he gets one full, injury-free season to show what he’s really made of.

Karl g

It seems that Jesus hasn’t even played half the games since he arrived. What a shame he still can’t be fit and is losing his best years.

Public Elneny

Just doesn’t seem to have that quick change of direction that made him so difficult to stop last year

From Beyond

For me, Jesus was the catalyst that sparked the emergence of Arteta’s new-look Arsenal, and an outstanding player. Chapeau.

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