By Noel Whelan

17th Sep, 2022 | 8:00am

Pundit feels sorry for Emile Smith Rowe as 'nightmare' Arsenal news emerges

Noel Whelan has suggested Emile Smith Rowe’s latest injury problem will make it “even harder” for him to break into the Arsenal squad.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 22-year-old has the “character” to “bounce back” from his new setback.

Speaking to club media (7 September), Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirmed Smith Rowe has been dealing with discomfort for a few weeks after sustaining a groin injury.

The England international limped out of the Gunners’ warm-down following his substitute cameo against Man United last week (4 September).

Football Insider medical expert Ben Dinnery claimed (11 September) Smith Rowe could now face “surgery” after problems with his groin stretching back to December 2021.

The midfielder has played second fiddle to Martin Odegaard this season with Arsenal sitting top of the Premier League.

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Whelan insisted Smith Rowe “will be needed” with the Gunners fighting on four fronts this season.

He told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “It’s one of your worst nightmares as a footballer – these niggly injuries.

“Especially after a game in a cool-down.

“He was struggling to break into the side and this is going to make life even harder for him.

“When it’s stop-and-start and you’re trying to break back into the side and show your worth – it’s frustrating.

“He’s got character and he seems a very level-headed young man with a real desire to play for Arsenal.

“He’ll be looking to bounce back fitter and stronger because he knows, deep down, that it’s a long season and he’ll be needed.”

In other news, pundit “can’t believe” Gabriel Jesus development as Arsenal news confirmed.