Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Emile Smith Rowe is now returning to full training, as they prepare to make a decision on his participation on Thursday.
With just one day to go until the first leg of Arsenal’s Europa League Round-of-16 tie against Olympiacos, Emile Smith Rowe is cutting it pretty close to be available for the trip to Greece.
The midfielder has been out with injury for the last week and a half, after coming off in the first half against Leicester City. However, Mikel Arteta says he’s rejoining training on Wednesday for a full session.
“He’s close to returning,” Arteta confirmed. “He’s going to have a full session today to see if he’s gonna be involved tomorrow (against Olympiacos) and we’ll see where we are with him.”
I’d assume that even if Smith Rowe is fit to join the squad, he’ll still probably start on the bench in Greece.
Arsenal have Martin Odegaard to fill the gap in midfield, and Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, and Willian for the two wide positions. There’s no point rushing Smith Rowe back and reinjuring him if they still aren’t sure if he’ll be ready a day before the game.
But it’s certainly a boost that the 20-year-old is already so close to a return. When he went down against Leicester, there was obviously a concern he could miss a much longer period in a crucial period of Arsenal’s season.
If Smith Rowe can just get fit enough to play a part against Spurs at the weekend, allowing someone like Odegaard a rest for at least part of the match, that would really help.