Middlesbrough have received a massive boost ahead of their weekend clash with Arsenal as captain Grant Leadbitter has returned to training.

The 30-year-old midfielder has been out for a whopping five months following a hernia operation after Boro’s final game of the season against Brighton, which won them promotion to the Premier League.

Leadbitter was a key player for Boro last season, featuring in 41 Championship matches and five cup games. He scored four goals and assisted three.

A few days ago, Boro manager, Aitor Karanka said that he hoped the midfielder would return quickly as he’s massive for the team. Apparently, even when he’s not fit, he travels with the squad.

“He’s desperate to be back in the team,” Karanka told Gazette Live.

“It will be a big boost, really important for the team. Even now when he’s not in the training sessions or playing in the games, he travelled to West Ham to be in our changing room, he travelled to Everton and Sunderland because he’s a really important part of this club. He knows that, and the other lads know too. He has a smile on his face.

“When you’re playing in London and when your captain who has been injured for two or three months is the first one to arrive, or when you’re at Sunderland and he was really disappointed to miss that game, he was still with his teammates and showing his character. Even when he’s been injured, he’s been with the team – it’s been really important.”

On Friday, Leadbitter was pictured training with the rest of the Middlesbrough squad ahead of their trip to north London and while it’s unclear whether he’ll get a run out at the Emirates as he’s been sidelined for so long, his presence is clearly massively appreciated in the dressing room.