Unai Emery on When Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding Could Return to Arsenal Fold

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that defensive trio Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are closing in on their returns to first team football – with the latter duo expected to feature for the Gunners’ Under-23s on Friday evening. 

Bellerin hasn’t featured since January after sustaining a serious cruciate ligament tear, while Tierney is yet to make his Arsenal debut as he recovers from a hip injury picked up while was still at Celtic.

Neither player played any part in ​the Gunners’ pre-season, but are expected to feature for the Under-23s when they take on Wolves on Friday, while Holding – who has already featured twice in Premier League 2 – is also nearing a full return. 

Rob Holding,Manasse Mampala

“We have some new players and players who we need to work with for their adaptation in the next matches,” Emery said after the ​3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, as quoted by Arsenal’s ​official website. “Progressively, they’re getting better.

“For example, Pepe played 30 minutes tonight and we are happy with him, we are helping him, but I know he’s capable of doing more than he’s doing.

“It’s the same with Mustafi. He played his first match this season and Chambers played at right back, David Luiz has now played with Mustafi and Chambers, with more players.

“Rob Holding is getting closer to us now. Tomorrow, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney will play with the Under-23s.


“I think every player can be important for us and I want to create a big spirit from games where we worked like we did tonight.”

Sunday’s clash with ​Aston Villa is likely to come too soon for any of the returning trio, but the EFL Cup tie with Nottingham Forest looks like a potential opportunity to give game-time to some returning stars, should they pass fitness tests. 


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