Arteta reveals latest on ‘very difficult’ Smith Rowe injury blow

The 22-year-old underwent surgery on a long-running groin problem earlier this week, having only made four brief substitute appearances this season.

Smith Rowe is not expected to return to training until December at the very least, ruling him out of the World Cup, albeit a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad did already seem unlikely.

Arsenal have had to deal with a number of injury problems during an otherwise excellent start to the season. Thomas Partey has missed four League games already with a thigh injury, while Oleksandr Zinchenko has suffered with niggles to both his knee and his calf.

Kieran Tierney, meanwhile, was forced off during Scotland’s Nations League win over the Republic of Ireland with a head injury.

While Arteta is well-stocked in attacking departments, Smith Rowe’s absence is a blow. Only Bukayo Saka scored more Premier League goals for the club last season during what was a breakthrough campaign for the Hale End academy graduate.

Of his surgery, Arteta said on Friday: “After surgery, it’s very difficult to give a timeline.

“We need to go step-by-step. Obviously, we know that before the World Cup, it’s not going to be easy [for Smith Rowe to return].

“After that, we have a break and we need to use it in the right way.”

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