EPL

Smith Rowe and Jesus back in light training as 'energy giver' Arteta prepares for Brentford

By Sports Desk February 10, 2023

Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Jesus are back in light training ahead of Arsenal's Premier League clash with Brentford.

Smith Rowe has missed most of the 2022-23 season with groin and thigh injuries, making just six appearances for the Gunners, all from the bench.

Speaking to the media before Saturday's game at Emirates Stadium, manager Mikel Arteta confirmed Smith Rowe is among a trio of injured players back in training, but he did say the midfielder will still not be available for the weekend.

"The ones that were [out for a] long time, like Emile, Reiss [Nelson] and Gabi [Jesus], they are closer," he said. "They started to do some work outside, but they are not ready to contribute yet."

The eventual return of Jesus will also be a boost for the league leaders, with the Brazilian having played a key role in firing Arsenal up the table earlier in the campaign, but Arteta does not want to rush him back.

"We need to respect some timelines and some processes, but he is doing really well," the manager said. "You have to see now when you put some load on that knee and put some movement and how he reacts."

Arteta also insisted his team's "only focus is on Brentford tomorrow" and refused to be drawn on the Premier League's decision to refer title rivals Manchester City to an independent commission for alleged breaches of financial regulations.

The Spaniard previously worked at City under Pep Guardiola and said he did not see anything untoward while at the club.

Meanwhile, Arteta spoke effusively about how much he values people who bring energy, referring to himself as an "energy giver".

"As a young manager, I love energy," he said. "I am an energy giver, I don't like energy suckers.

"I like people who give energy in many different ways. Sometimes it's with body language, with tone of voice, hugging people, looking for solutions and not excuses. I love energy."

Arteta also spoke of his admiration for Folarin Balogun, who is enjoying a productive loan spell in Ligue 1 this season.

The 21-year-old striker has scored 15 goals in 23 games for Reims, and the boss of his parent club explained the decision to send him to France.

"[I am] so happy for him," he said. "He's a boy with a really clear idea of what he wants to do in his career. And he's really brave. We discussed before whether it was the right place to go, and I'm really pleased for him.

"Obviously when you look at the numbers and what he's doing, it's incredible, but he's got something special, that's why we gave him a long-term contract."

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