Dani Ceballos believes his recent injury, the worst of his career so far, came from playing too many matches under Unai Emery.
Dani Ceballos recently returned from a longer-term injury than initially thought. The on-loan midfielder picked up a muscle problem on November 6th, but he only made it back onto the pitch on January 27th, close to three months later.
The early reports on the problem didn’t suggest it was that serious. Unai Emery called it a “small injury” and when Arsenal eventually put a timeline on it, they said he was aiming to return in mid-December.
Ceballos explained to Marca that they exercised caution for fear of a setback.
“Personally, I have just returned from a very serious injury, it is the first one I have had since I was a professional,” Ceballos began. “It affected my tendon and the doctors told me that it was not common and that I had to be quite careful.
“I have been taking it little by little because I was afraid of relapse. Practically, from two to three weeks ago, I am fairly well. Now I have to catch up, compete and return to my best level.
“[The injury] was in Guimarares, in Portugal, I think due to an excess of matches. I played 17 games in two months, I was the only player who had played all those games.
“At that time I spoke with Unai [Emery] and told him that in all competitions, as long as I could and my body allowed it, I wanted to play it all. Sometimes you have to learn from mistakes. It cost me an injury, but you learn from everything.”
A slow return to the pitch
In total contrast to his time under Emery, Ceballos worked his way into Mikel Arteta’s squad very slowly. He made the bench in Arteta’s third game, then sat on it four times without coming on.
On his fifth appearance in the squad, the 23-year-old played 21 minutes against Bournemouth. Then, he returned to the bench against Burnley.
Clearly, the priority is to avoid another injury. If he misses the next few months with another setback, that’ll hurt his Euro 2020 chances badly.
When he is fully available, Arsenal fans are likely to accept Ceballos back with open arms. The midfield still aren’t creating enough, so the supporters will happily see Arteta try something new. Then it’s up to the player himself to impress.