“Hopefully” – Mikel Arteta Makes Claim About When Injured Arsenal Star Could Return To Play

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says there is a “good chance” that Jurrien Timber will play for the first team before the end of the season.

There has been growing optimism that the Dutchman could make his comeback from an ACL injury in upcoming fixtures after he returned to full training, but Arteta has tried to keep expectations in check, stating he doesn’t want to put the player in before he is ready:

“He’s doing very well; he’s back training. He’s not far off, but the thing is, that last step. I think he has a good chance [of playing again this season]. I don’t know the percentage, but he’s going to push it as far as he possibly can.”

Arteta is keen for Timber to play for the Under 21s to regain match fitness before being given any first-team opportunities:

“He hasn’t played any minutes, so does he need a game with the U21s? Does he need two games? We are going to have to see, especially because he’s training with us, and we need to see how long that will take him. That last part is tricky and sometimes takes a while. Hopefully, as soon as possible.”

ACL injuries can take a long time to recover from

Timber sustained his injury against Nottingham Forest all the way back in August. It means that the Netherlands international has already spent the best part of 7 and a half months on the sidelines.

However, recoveries from ACLs can take up to 9 months or even longer. Timber has done well to get back to fitness as quickly as he has but, as Arteta says, he still needs to make that “last step”.

A title race is not the ideal time to throw in the Arsenal defender

To say that the 22-year-old is ring rusty is an understatement. After spending almost the whole season on the treatment table, you can’t expect him to play a significant role during the run-in.

There will be some extremely intense games to play and you can’t afford to carry anyone. Timber may need to be patient to get his chances in the first team.

David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.