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'It's been hard to deal with' - Smith Rowe makes Arsenal vow after ending injury hell

12:00 GMT 10/01/2023
Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal 2022
Emile Smith Rowe has revealed he is "itching" to make an impact in Arsenal’s title bid this season after making his long awaited return from injury.
  • Smith Rowe has been out since September
  • He has been in full training the past fortnight
  • Is expected to be in the squad to face Spurs on Sunday

WHAT HAPPENED? The Gunners attacker made his first appearance in four months on Monday night when he came off the bench to replace Bukayo Saka during the 3-0 win at Oxford United in the FA Cup.

The cameo appearance marked the end of a long journey for Smith Rowe, who was forced to undergo surgery on a longstanding groin issue after pulling up during a warm-down following Arsenal’s defeat at Manchester United in September.

WHAT THEY SAID: It’s been a tough few months for the 21-year-old, but now he is back and has vowed to try and make his mark. "It’s really good to be back on the pitch with my team-mates," he said. "I am just going to kick on from here.

"I have been itching to get out there and play with the boys. I hope I can make an impact. It has been difficult being out for this long. I don’t think I have had this [long a lay-off] before and it has been tough watching. But at the same time we are top of the league and playing really well, so I can’t complain."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Smith Rowe is hoping that the surgery he had in September has finally fixed the groin issue he has been carrying since he was a teenager. He added: "A lot of people might not know, but I have had this injury since I was 18, 19. It has been quite hard to deal with it over the years. But I am really happy that it is just finally over. I had a successful surgery and I am feeling really good.

"I was pretty much with the them [the squad] after surgery. I was in all the meetings and stuff, trying to keep up with the knowledge and learning every day what he (Mikel Arteta) was trying to apply in training. The whole team was around me. The manager really helped me and obviously I had my family supporting me. So it was really tough, but I managed to get through it and I am just happy I’m fully fit now."

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WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? The Gunners travel to Tottenham on Sunday in the Premier League for the second north London derby of the season, with Smith Rowe expected to be part of Arteta's squad.