Emile Smith Rowe has admitted he is ‘desperate’ to get back into Arsenal’s starting lineup after a season spent largely on the sidelines.
The 22-year-old missed around four months earlier in the campaign while recovering from groin surgery and returned to find Arsenal flying at the top of the Premier League table.
As a result, Smith Rowe has featured in just four Premier League games in 2023, with three of those appearances lasting under ten minutes. His only start of any sort since his return to fitness came on Saturday for England Under-21s in a 4-0 win over France.
After the game, Smith Rowe threw his full support behind Arsenal’s title charge but conceded it has been difficult being forced to watch on from the sidelines.
“I’m really desperate [to play] to be honest,” he said. “The team is doing really well and it’s obviously something I want to be a part of. I’m working hard every day. Coming away here and getting minutes that I really need is really good for me to take back.”
“I’ve never really been in this position before, being left out so much. But I’m just trying to work hard as much as possible, to train as well as I can.
“I know the team’s on fire and they’re doing really well. It’s been really difficult to deal with it and manage it. But everyone at the club has been helping me on and off the pitch. It’s such a family at Arsenal, all the boys have been helping me out as well.”
Smith Rowe first picked up the groin injury when he was 18 and it has continued to plague him ever since, leading to the eventual decision to go under the knife earlier this season.
“I was quite low at the beginning,” Smith Rowe added. “I’ve never had surgery before.
“I was quite worried, I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t know if I was going to be the same after the surgery. So it was quite tough to deal with. I have my family around me helping me every day. Everyone was helping me deal with it. But it was really tough and something I’ve never felt before.”
On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou discusses the games which could decide Arsenal’s Premier League title fate.
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