Timber reflects on an emotional first-team return

Sunday’s 2-1 win was an afternoon of mixed emotions for all Gooners, but perhaps none more so than Jurrien Timber.

The Dutch defender made his long-awaited first-team return as a 69th-minute replacement for Ben White, marking a 282-day wait for his second Premier League appearance after his ACL injury on the opening day of the campaign.

It’s been a long road to recovery ever since for Jurrien, but he managed to achieve his goal of returning to Mikel Arteta’s team before the season’s end. While he was delighted to be back playing in front of the Emirates Stadium crowd, he still shared the disappointment of those supporters and his teammates as our title challenge fell just short.

Reflecting on completing his recovery, he said: “I felt good after so many months of hard work, but on the other hand, we didn’t become champions today and that's sad. It's a hard one to take.

“I just wanted to give some energy to the team. It was still 1-1 and there were still enough chances to win the game, so I tried to do that it's just a nice feeling to be back.

“That’s very important. I think it's a different feeling when you don't play any minutes. After getting injured after the first game, then what happened today, getting minutes even though we didn't become champions, it's just nice for me to go into the summer with some minutes. That's very important for me, it’s just my feeling.”

While his first year in north London hasn’t gone the way he envisioned following his summer switch from Ajax, Jurrien admits that he feels settled into the squad despite having to watch the action unfold from afar.

And just like our supporters, he says that he really enjoyed the football his teammates played to smash numerous records and fight until the end of the season in our quest for silverware, and he can’t wait to play a much bigger role in 2024/25.

“I think it's been a good few months,” he reflected. “Obviously I was injured, so that's hard but it was nice to be so close to the team, to get to know my teammates. Just to see them play every weekend, it's just a pleasure to watch. It's the same for you guys and for me, it was the same. Just to see everything up close was a privilege, so I enjoyed that.

“I want to be fit, I want to be good and I want to give everything I have and just enjoy playing with the guys.”

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