At least 12 first-team Arsenal outfielders are back in training this week, along with plenty of u21s and a few goalkeepers.
Pre-season is underway for Arsenal, and the first senior players have started to return to London Colney to rebuild their fitness.
At this stage, it’s still too soon for many of the internationals to rejoin training. They need a proper break ahead of a long season with a mid-campaign World Cup that many of them will feature in.
Kieran Tierney also seemingly continues to be absent from the main squad sessions, following his injury. But plenty of others could be spotted in the latest training photos, including the returning Thomas Partey.
Folarin Balogun, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Cedric Soares, and Ben White were all involved in the early sessions.
To fill out the squad, some u21s have earned some first-team opportunities, with Zach Awe, Miguel Azeez, Marcelo Flores, Omari Hutchinson, Mazeed Ogungbo, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand, Charlie Patino, Lino Sousa, and Zak Swanson all involved.
That should easily be enough to put together a team to face FC Nürnberg next week, perhaps with one or two others returning before then.
Though not pictured at the link above, goalkeepers Bernd Leno, Arthur Okonkwo, and Runar Alex Runarsson were involved as well, and reports suggest Matt Turner has taken part in a session or two.
Leno and Okonkwo didn’t have internationals to play in, whilst Turner already had his off-season holiday over the winter – due to the MLS calendar-year format.
Aaron Ramsdale, Karl Hein, and Runarsson all played for their countries this month, so they would all be on extended holidays. But Runarsson’s club season ended early, hence his early return.
Hubert Graczyk, Tom Smith, James Hillson, and Ovie Ejeheri are available if necessary. The youth quartet are currently all training with the u21s.
You wouldn’t write off Arsenal calling one or two of the u21 goalkeepers up to the senior squad, given Leno, Runarsson and Okonkwo are up for a sale and a loan this summer.
The training camp in Germany may not see a full-strength Arsenal squad, but it’s hoped the majority of players will be back by the time the Gunners head to the US.