Arsenal star Emile Smith-Rowe ruled out for at least two months – and might not play again until Christmas – after surgery on groin injury… dealing a blow to Mikel Arteta ahead of packed fixture schedule
- Arsenal confirm Emile Smith-Rowe is out of action until at least December
- The 22-year-old had surgery on an existing groin problem in London this week
- The Gunners will need a deep squad as they play nine matches in October
Emile Smith-Rowe could be sidelined until the new year after the Arsenal attacker underwent surgery on his groin.
The 22-year-old has been plagued by injury and illness for much of this year, hampering his progress and playing opportunities.
In recent months, Smith Rowe has been battling discomfort in his groin and he suffered a ‘significant setback' while warming down after Arsenal's defeat by Manchester United earlier this month.
Emile Smith-Rowe has been ruled out of action after undergoing surgery on a groin problem
After consulting medical staff, he had ‘successful' surgery in London in the past few days to ‘repair a damaged tendon'.
He now faces a long spell of rehab, with Arsenal hopeful he can return to full training in December.
With the mid-season break for the Qatar World Cup, that would mean the earliest Smith Rowe could feature again would be Boxing Day.
Smith-Rowe aggravated an existing groin problem when he came on as a substitute against Manchester United
Around this time last year, the attacker's fine form earned him a first England call-up.
But any faint hopes he had of making their World Cup squad have now gone and a few weeks ago Mikel Arteta admitted he was concerned by the 22-year-old's ‘ongoing' fitness struggles.
‘It's very frustrating. He's a kid that loves playing football. 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,' he said.
‘When he's been trying to train he's not been feeling 100 percent fit or pain free. This is the main concern and we have to find a solution to that. We're trying.'
Smith-Rowe's groin problem has restricted him to only four appearances in all competitions this season, but his absence deals a considerable blow to Arteta.
The Gunners will need a deep squad as they play nine matches across the Premier League and Europa League in October.
The absence of Smith-Rowe deals a blow to Mikel Arteta ahead of a packed fixture schedule
Arteta said Arsenal will need to ‘surround' Smith Rowe with the ‘right habits and the right people' to help him manage football's evermore ‘demanding' workload.
‘We're trying to help him as much as possible in any way we can… we need him performing at his best level because he's such an important player for us,' he said.
Arsenal are top of the Premier League table going into the north London derby against Tottenham on Saturday. Arteta's side have 18 points after their first seven matches, one clear of champions Manchester City in second.