Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal expect clean bill of health after international break

Defender Rob Holding is now back in full training.

Arsenal defender Rob Holding could soon be back in contention following his long-term knee injury. (Nick Potts/PA)
Arsenal defender Rob Holding could soon be back in contention following his long-term knee injury. (Nick Potts/PA)

By Jim van Wijk, PA

Arsenal expect to be able to report a clean bill of health as the squad return from international duty – and head coach Unai Emery could soon see his defensive options boosted.

The Gunners will resume Premier League action away to Watford on Sunday, which will be Quique Sanchez Flores’ first match in charge following his return to Vicarage Road.

Forward Nicolas Pepe had already returned early from Ivory Coast’s training camp in Deauville to work on building up his match fitness, with club sources moving to allay concerns over a fresh injury worry.

Arsenal confirmed none of the other players who have been away with their countries had so far indicated any fresh fitness problems.

A club statement read: “All players who were on international duty will have returned to us by Thursday morning. No international players have reported injuries during this period.

“However, all international players will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s match.”

Midfielder Joe Willock withdrew from the England Under-21 squad as he was carrying a calf problem, which is not expected to keep him on the sidelines.

Arsenal’s update on the club’s official website confirmed defender Rob Holding was “now back in full training with the first team squad” following his long-term knee problem.

Full-back Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, is also “progressing well” with on-going rehabilitation from his own cruciate ligament injury suffered at the start of 2019, and “aiming to participate in full training” later this month.

Scotland international Kieran Tierney “continues to receive treatment and further assessments” on the groin problem which has delayed his debut after joining from Celtic ahead of the transfer deadline.

The full-back, though, is expected to also soon be in contention again along with Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Arsenal drew 2-2 with north London rivals Tottenham before the international break, which left them in fifth.

The Gunners, though, are one of several teams just three points behind second-placed Manchester City.

PA

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