In the pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League tie against nailed-on relegation candidates West Brom, Mikel Arteta explained why Reiss Nelson has been absent as of late.
Goal’s Charles Watts put the question forward, in an effort to get down to the bottom of why the 21-year-old hasn’t featured in a matchday squad since the start of December, despite training.
Arteta stated that the tricky winger has been dealing with a ‘little niggle’, Nelson has been struggling with a ‘muscular issue’ that has seen him ‘in and out of training’ as of late, with the ace not at ‘100%’.
The former Arsenal captain turned boss added that Nelson, who has seen all four of his starts this season come in cup competitions, was starting to have some ‘really good games’ before the setback.
Arteta stated the injury was a ‘shame’ as the England Under-21s international was starting to get into his ‘performance levels’ and building ‘momentum’.
The north London outfit’s manager then dashed claims that the academy graduate’s absence was due to a possible exit in January, adding it was his ‘mistake’ in not clarifying the ‘situation’ sooner.
Mikel Arteta has explained the absence of one of Arsenal’s promising talents as of late, silencing talk that it was related to a possible January exit… pic.twitter.com/HNnpKVGfVp
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) December 31, 2020
“He had a little niggle, he’s not been feeling 100%, he had a muscular issue, he’s been in and out of training, he’s not been 100%.”
“It’s a shame because I felt he was getting into his performance levels, he had starting to have some really good games – he was starting to build that momentum – this little injury stepped him back a little bit.”
“But I think this week has been much better.”
Arteta then dashed the transfer rumours:
“No, the problem is my mistake then, not to clarify the situation and what was happening, he’s not been 100% fit, that’s the reason why he’s been out and has not been featuring around the squad.”
Nelson has made a total of eight appearances across all competitions this season, with the talent featuring on either wing.
Considering that Arsenal’s attack was massively struggling before the crucial back-to-back wins against Chelsea and Brighton, Nelson edging closer to a return is a massive boost for the side.
It could be harder for Nelson to break back into the side now that Gabriel Martinelli has returned from a lengthy layoff and Emile Smith Rowe has finally won a chance to shine for the first-team this season.