Arteta on why Smith Rowe was sent for surgery

Emile Smith Rowe

Following the news that Emile Smith Rowe has undergone groin surgery, Mikel Arteta believes that the procedure was necessary to allow the youngster to fully focus on playing again, instead of also managing the issue.

The England international has been suffering discomfort for a number of months now, and experienced a setback at Old Trafford at the start of the month that has sidelined him since.

Having examined all the options, it was decided that surgery was the best way to get the 22-year-old back playing regularly again, and Smith Rowe underwent a successful procedure to repair a tendon and has started rehabilitation with a December return pencilled in.

When asked about the thought process behind the move, Mikel revealed: "We put all the alternatives on the table and the thing is we have tried some others during the last few months and they haven’t really worked to the point the player wasn’t comfortable and consistently at his best to perform.

"We decided to take that route and that it was the best decision. We had to make a decision because we could not continue the uncertainty as to whether we have him, or have him with certain conditions.

"We needed to draw a line so we made that decision and he was the first one demanding that he wanted to make the decision and we supported that, and we have to prepare him to get back stronger than he was.

"After surgery it is very difficult to give a timeline. It depends on the first process, how the bones heal, how was his first reaction, his improvement and how he’s adapting. We need to go step by step; obviously we know that before the World Cup will not be easy, and after that we have a break and we need to use him in the right way."

Ahead of tomorrow's north London derby, read our match preview, find out some unique NLD stats and watch some classic moments from home wins against Spurs.

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