Watch Watford vs Arsenal live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm this Sunday; Kick-off at 4.30pm
By Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 13/09/19 3:02pm
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery says Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are both “close” to making a first-team return.
Emery confirmed both players took part in full first-team training during the international break.
While neither will be available for Sunday’s trip to Watford, live on Sky Sports Premier League, Emery says they will get minutes with the U23s to regain match fitness.
Watford vs Arsenal
September 15, 2019, 4:00pm
Tierney is waiting for his Arsenal debut since making a £25m move from Celtic with a pre-existing groin injury, while Bellerin has been out for most of 2019 after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.
“They are now close to us but they need to continue to work. They need to take their time to feel comfortable so they can play,” Emery said.
“Kieran Tierney to start [with the team] and Hector Bellerin to come back after the injuries.
“It depends how they can progress in the next few weeks. Maybe we will decide at the beginning to play them first with the U23s to be ready with us.
“Maybe they can take confidence and rhythm and be ready to play for us 100 per cent.
“We need to look at each step in each training. This week they trained normally with us for the first time. Next week we want to see them train normally and after we can decide if they can play with the U23s or with us.”
Holding could be involved in Europa League
Meanwhile, Rob Holding, who has been out with a knee injury since December 2018, will be reintroduced into the first team as Arsenal’s schedule begins to stack up with Europa League and Carabao Cup fixtures.
“Rob Holding is the same situation but he earned time with matches with the U23s. We need to decide if he will play,” Emery added.
“Next week we start with the Europa League and then the Carabao Cup, so with more U23 minutes, he can be ready to give us a performance
“At the moment we are working with three centre-backs, it will be four on Sunday. Rob Holding makes it five and also Mavrapanos makes it six.”
Emery: I’ll choose captain next week
The Arsenal head coach also revealed he would be announcing Arsenal’s club captain and extended leadership group for the season next week after holding a player meeting on Friday morning.
“We spoke about that this morning and next week I will take the decision on the five captains. We spoke with the team and it will be official next week,” he revealed.
Ceballos has realised difficulty of Premier League
Dani Ceballos, on-loan from Real Madrid, has quickly become a fans’ favourite for his influential performances at home against Burnley and in the second half against Tottenham.
However, Emery revealed the player himself has recognised the need to adapt to the English game after he admitted being overawed at Anfield during Arsenal’s 3-1 loss.
“Every player when they are coming to a new competition and team, they need some adaptation,” he said.
“He is playing, for example at Liverpool he told us at that moment he found out how difficult it was to play in the Premier League, and above all a team like Liverpool.
“It’s good he recognised that he needs that adaptation. Each match and each training session is important for him to adapt faster with us, with new ideas, new team-mates and new opponents.
“His wish to help us is very important. His skills and quality is needed.”