Smith-Rowe Continues his Road to Recovery
Smith-Rowe’s performances last season earned him folklore status, as he repaid his manager’s faith in him, scoring 11 goals in 37 appearances. 10 goals from those 11 were scored in the Premier League with Smith-Rowe scoring in big games like Tottenham, Manchester United and even though Arsenal fell short in their bid to qualify for the Champions League, Smith-Rowe was one of the bright sparks of the campaign.
Smith-Rowe didn’t get much preseason game time in contrast to Gabriel Martinelli, and this was evident in the team selections for the new campaign with Martinelli being an ever-present in the side, while Smith-Rowe had to make do with four substitute appearances against Leicester, Bournemouth, Aston Villa and most recently, the team’s first Premier League defeat of the campaign to Manchester United. Smith-Rowe was odds on to get his first start of the campaign in the Europa League win over FC Zurich, but his injury problems ensured that he missed that game.
Unfortunately, Smith-Rowe had to undergo surgery on his groin, as the player had been experiencing some discomfort for quite some time, which clearly affected his training and ultimately, first team appearances. The injury recovery and rehabilitation kept Smith-Rowe out of the team till the new year, with the attacking midfielder making his comeback in the 3-0 thrashing of Oxford United in the FA Cup. There was a moment in that game where Smith-Rowe had a chance to execute a finish, but his rustiness was on show, but he managed to get 15 minutes under his belt unscathed. His last competitive appearance for the club was in the North London Derby last month, when he came on as a 92nd minute sub for Eddie Nketiah to see out the game.
At this point, it’s very important to manage his minutes adequately, as we are in the business end of the season, and we will need all hands on deck as Arsenal charges for their first league title in 19 seasons, as well as their first Europa League trophy. Smith-Rowe managed to play 45 minutes in the Arsenal U21s defeat to Chelsea with Arsenal Youth blogging correspondent, Jeorge Bird, publishing a match report. I certainly don’t watch our U21 games but to see Smith-Rowe going through 45 minutes without any complications is a huge development.
With the games coming thick and fast, Smith-Rowe still has a role to play for the team and I’m sure he’s itching to be part of the action, especially in the Premier League.
We can only hope that his road to recovery, remains a smooth one, without any setbacks hopefully.
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