Mikel Arteta hopes to have "incredible" Arsenal star back in action within days

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Mikel Arteta hopes to have "incredible" Arsenal star back in action within days
Mikel Arteta hopes to have "incredible" Arsenal star back in action within days

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed he is hopeful Emile Smith Rowe can play a part in the Gunners upcoming FA Cup third round clash away at Oxford United on Monday night.

The Hale End academy graduate has not featured for the club since September after undergoing groin surgery which kept him sidelined for more than three months. Thankfully for the Emirates faithful, Smith Rowe is showing positive signs of progress and has been back in training with the first team over the last few weeks.

While it is likely that a full 90-minute appearance will have to wait a while longer, Arteta told reporters that Smith Rowe has very nearly completed his rehabilitation and could play a part in Monday night's cup contest at Kassam Stadium.

"Tomorrow, if he trains well, he will hopefully be available to give us something in the game," the Gunners boss said of the 22-year-old.

"First of all, we need him fit and at his best, and when we have an incredible player that we have missed a lot in the last few months. On Sunday, if he trains well, he will hopefully be available to give us something in the game."

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When the time came to discuss the position Smith Rowe could take up, Arteta made sure to keep all options on the table as he added: "He can play as an attacking midfielder, as a winger and even as a nine - I think he’s played there before."

Mikel Arteta hopes to have "incredible" Arsenal star back in action within daysEmile Smith Rowe could make his first Arsenal appearance since September on Monday

HAVE YOUR SAY! How important is Smith Rowe's return to Arsenal's chances of silverware this season? Comment below.

Smith Rowe was one of Arsenal's standout performers last season but injuries have seen him become somewhat of a forgotten figure - especially when factoring in how impressive the other players in the Gunners midfield have been this term.

Club captain Martin Odegaard has arguably been the Gunners' player of the season, while Arsenal also forked out £34million on another attacking midfielder in Fabio Vieira last summer.

There is a chance Smith Rowe and Vieira line up alongside each other against Oxford, with Arteta admitting Arsenal are desperate to continue their love affair with the competition.

"It is obviously a competition that is attached to the successful history of this club, so on Monday, we’ll have a good start and a good test,” the Gunners boss said of the FA Cup. "We have to take the competition and the opponent very seriously and play well, to a high level to win the match.

"It is a competition that we are really looking forward to playing in and brings back huge memories to our football club and the team, because not many years ago we won it, but also last year how we went out of the competition. It’s a competition that we really want to play in and compete."

Josh O'Brien

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation