Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via football.london), Mikel Arteta confirmed that, after picking up a knock in the Gunners’ 1-0 win over FC Zurich last week, Takehiro Tomiyasu will remain unavailable for selection for the visit of the Seagulls this evening.
However, the Spaniard went on to state that the right-back should return to full fitness in around seven days’ time, suggesting that the 24-year-old will be ready for Japan’s World Cup 2022 opener against Germany on November 23.
Reagrding the fitness of the defender, the 40-year-old said: “It’s a small injury for Tomi, he did well to stop during the match, so it’s not going to be a big issue. I think he will be back in a week or so, so hopefully he will be fine to start at the World Cup.”
While the loss of Tomiyasu will undoubtedly have come as a blow to Arteta ahead of both the Brighton and Wolverhampton Wanderers fixtures this week – as regular squad rotation will be key to Arsenal competing on as many fronts as possible this season – the Japan international’s unavailability could well bring with it a silver lining.
With reports revealing that 17-year-old Reuell Walters was training with Arsenal’s first team squad on Tuesday, Tomiyasu’s absence could well see the Gunners U21 right-back be handed at least a spot on the bench against Roberto De Zerbi’s side – or perhaps even a place in the starting XI.
And, considering just how exciting a prospect the England U18 international looks to be, his potential first-team debut on Wednesday night could well represent the emergence of one of Arteta’s next stars of the future.
Indeed, the £1.7k-per-week teenager caught the eye during the Gunners’ pre-season tour of America, playing out of position at left-back against fellow Premier League side Everton, an appearance which was reported to have excited the Arsenal fanbase.
The defender – who has made 14 appearances for the U18s and 27 appearances for the U21s since his move to London Colney – has also earned a considerable amount of praise, with Layth Yousif dubbing the youngster “calm and assured” and suggesting that he has “pace to burn“, while Kaya Kaynak claimed the right-back “really impressed” during pre-season.
As such, while Tomiyasu’s setback is undoubtedly a blow, it does present Arsenal supporters with the possibility of seeing one of their most promising talents in action at The Emirates tonight – something that is sure to excite everyone involved with the club.