By Richard Clarke   

Tomas Rosicky could be as little as eight weeks away from a return to the Arsenal first-team.

On Monday it was exactly 12 months since the Czech international last wore a red-and-white shirt. He came off after nine minutes of the Premier League game with Newcastle and has been plagued by a problem with his hamstring tendon ever since.

Ironically the player who replaced him on that occasion was Eduardo, who would suffer a far more horrific-looking injury a month later but has returned to Reserve team action already.

According to Arsène Wenger, Arsenal have badly missed the 28-year-old midfielder but he has handled his long absence admirably.

“If all goes well [he’ll be back in] eight weeks,” said the manager. “But that assumes he survives as we increase the intensity of training.

“So far Tomas has been exceptional frankly - exceptionally strong, exceptionally patient, exceptionally resilient.

“The most difficult thing in sport is when you have an injury and you try to practice very hard to come back and it doesn’t work so you have to rest and start again. That’s the most difficult thing.

"But he is a brilliant guy, Rosicky. We miss him highly.”

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28 Jan 2009