'I'm told': £50k-a-week Arsenal player will miss Boxing Day clash, he's not fit - journalist
The England international hasn’t featured for the Gunners since their 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at the start of September.
Since then, he’s been unavailable due to a groin injury that ended up requiring surgery.
However, he never sounded too positive about his prospects: “Let’s see. Emile the last few days hasn’t been able to train but hopefully he can start next week.”
Benge has now said that Smith Rowe won’t be fit to face West Ham, which isn’t a huge surprise.
Making sure he’s completely ready to play again rather than rushing him into action will be Arsenal’s priority.
Smith Rowe won’t face West Ham – Benge
The journalist took to Twitter and said: “I’m told that the Boxing Day clash with West Ham is likely to come too soon for Emile Smith Rowe.
“There’s not setbacks or anything similar, Arsenal and player are just taking their time to make sure he is 100 percent ready on his return.”
The £50,000-a-week attacker has had some rotten luck with injuries.
A shoulder injury ruled him out for nearly two months in 2020, and his time on loan at RB Leipzig was severely disrupted as well.
He missed half a season in Germany with a hamstring issue, which thankfully hasn’t reoccurred.
Since then, he’s signed a new long-term deal at The Emirates, and been handed the number 10 shirt.
Arteta and his coaching staff clearly have a huge amount of belief in the young Englishman.
With Gabriel Jesus set to miss the next few months of action, Smith Rowe’s return will be very important to Arsenal.
He could play on the left-wing, allowing Arteta to potentially play Gabriel Martinelli as a centre-forward.
It’s not the end of the world that Smith Rowe won’t be fit to face West Ham.
However, the longer his absence goes on, the more worried Arsenal fans will be that his injury could be a much more serious problem.