Mikel Arteta contradicted Bernd Leno’s characterization of the ‘politics’ he encountered at Arsenal, while the Spaniard also provided an update on Emile Smith Rowe’s fitness.
The Gunners flew to Zurich for their Europa League opener on Thursday night, recovering from their first loss of the season in a 3-1 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
After the match, Smith Rowe participated in a warm-down with other substitutes, but pulled out mid-game and seemed seriously uncomfortable.
Arteta has now confirmed his young attacker has been injured for some time and has not been able to train since the United game, with Smith Rowe now ruled out for the Zurich clash.
When asked about the England international at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, Arteta explained: “He was feeling a little uncomfortable again in an area that he’s been dealing with for a number of weeks.
“He hasn’t trained in the last few days so he’s out of the squad.”
Arsenal have somewhat slim chances to play down the left wing with Smith Rowe sidelined and Arteta conceding Gabriel Martinelli may not get the opportunity to rest as a result.
Speaking of the Brazilian, Arteta added: “We’re just trying to see where the players are on the team and when it’s fair for certain players to demand what’s revealed.”
Away from the team news, former Arsenal goalkeeper Leno gave a somewhat explosive interview to German newspaper Sport BILD, in which he opened up about his time in north London and the reasons behind his departure.
“When I realized that it wasn’t about performance or quality, I knew I had to go,” said the German.
“I saw in the preparation that it’s not about performance, it’s just about politics. It was clear to me: I have to get out of here.”
Arteta didn’t seem too pleased with his former player’s comments, taking offense at his version of events and mentioning how many times the German had started prior to Aaron Ramsdale’s arrival.
When asked about Leno’s interview, Arteta said: “I’m really surprised and I don’t know if he talks about politics when he starts every game or when he doesn’t play. Really surprised about that.’
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