Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has urged fans to be patient with striker Gabriel Jesus when he returns from his three-month layoff due to a knee injury sustained during last year’s World Cup as he explained what he needs to return to playing.

Gabriel Jesus in training with Arsenal (Photo via karthikadhaigal on Twitter)
Gabriel Jesus in training with Arsenal (Photo via karthikadhaigal on Twitter)

Ahead of Arsenal’s game against Sporting in the Europa League, Mikel Arteta emphasised that the Brazilian forward needs time to regain his confidence and physical fitness before competing with a ‘free mind’.

Gabriel Jesus has returned to full training with the Arsenal squad and there was speculation about his possible inclusion in the team’s Europa League fixture against Sporting.

However, Jesus was not included in the matchday squad with Gabriel Martinelli leading the Arsenal frontline during the match, with both Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard  injured.

Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard were both ruled out due to illness.

“He needs time as well to get himself that confidence and that physical state that is necessary to compete with a free mind and once he’s free to do that, we will throw him in,” Arteta said.

The manager added: “We will try not to rush him back, we will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when is comfortable and as well giving the team a boost that it’s going to need in the next few weeks for sure.”

Arsenal are hopeful that they will see Jesus on the pitch before the international break which comes after the game against Crystal Palace on 19 March.