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Nicolas Pepe must attain full fitness to play 90 minutes for Arsenal – Emery

11:09 EAT 12/08/2019
Nicolas Pepe Arsenal 2019-20
The Gunners boss feels the Ivory Coast international is not ready for full action after recently joining the side

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has stated Nicolas Pepe must attain full fitness before he can play 90 minutes for the Gunners.

The 24-year-old winger made his debut in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle United in their opening Premier League game on Sunday.

The forward, who joined the London-based club this month from French Ligue 1 side Lille, was introduced for Reiss Nelson in the 71st minute of the encounter.

Emery explained why his £72 million summer record buy was limited to a 20-minute cameo against the Magpies at St James' Park.

“Nicolas Pepe came one week ago and physically he needs to get his best fitness to be ready to play 100 per cent for 90 minutes,” Emery told the club website.

“I think that today 20 minutes is good for him. And Ceballos is in the middle because he came before Pepe but he got an injury and he stopped training.”

Pepe played three games for Ivory Coast in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as they were eliminated in the quarter-final of the competition.

The winger scored 22 league goals in 38 games for Lille last season to help them finish as runners-up behind Paris Saint-Germain.

He will hope to get more minutes under his belt in Arsenal’s first home game of the season against Burnley on Saturday, August 17.