Pre-Match Report

Arsenal Under-21s v Blackburn - Preview

Theo Walcott

Borehamwood sits midway between London Colney and Emirates Stadium, so it only seems fitting that Meadow Park should host the next step in Theo Walcott’s rehabilitation programme.

The Arsenal forward has been out of action since January after suffering a knee injury in the Gunners' FA Cup third-round win against Tottenham Hotspur.

It has been nine long months of work, work and more work for the 25-year-old, but Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he is once again ready for action on Friday when the under-21s take on Blackburn Rovers.

"I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing again. If anything, I hope to come back stronger and quicker"

Theo Walcott

And with Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud both sidelined, the boss is keen to ease Walcott back in slowly.

“He will play on Friday night in the under-21s,” Wenger said. “He has been out for nine months and needs to find some rhythm in the game and some confidence to go into the contact.”

Speaking last month, Walcott revealed that he has spent a number of days recovering as the only player at the training ground, which only strengthened his resolve to get back on to the pitch as soon as possible.

“I knew how long the rehab would be, it was always going to be around nine months,” he explained. “But I approached it that I had to enjoy it, and that’s what I have done. It's given me the opportunity to work on my legs and build up the muscle strength.

 

 

Theo scores against Cardiff

Theo scores against Cardiff

 

 

“Everyone has been so good with me - the Arsenal medical team, the Arsenal fans, and of course my family. Everyone has worked so hard and has been so supportive towards me.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing again. If anything, I hope to come back stronger and quicker.”

We shall find out more on Friday, as Walcott makes his long-awaited return at Meadow Park.

Entrance is free of charge, and we will have live updates on the @Arsenal Twitter feed from 6.55pm (UK time)

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