Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said Emile Smith Rowe’s demands for a decision on a treatment plan for a troublesome groin injury prompted the Premier League club to send the midfielder for surgery, which is expected to keep him out until December.
The 22-year-old, who had a breakout campaign last season with 10 league goals, has had limited game time this season with only four substitute appearances, his last match coming against Manchester United at the start of September.
Arteta said the club had tried other alternatives, but opted for surgery after failing to fully resolve the issue.
“We had to make a decision because we could not continue the uncertainty as to whether we have him, or have him with certain conditions,” Arteta told reporters ahead of Arsenal’s league game against north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
“We needed to draw a line so we made that decision and he was the first one demanding that he wanted to make the decision and we supported that, and we have to prepare him to get back stronger than he was.”
Smith Rowe is not expected to miss too many games due to the mid-season break in November and December for the World Cup.
“After surgery it is very difficult to give a timeline. It depends on the first process, how the bones heal, how was his first reaction, his improvement and how he’s adapting,” Arteta said.
“We need to go step by step; obviously we know that before the World Cup will not be easy, and after that we have a break and we need to use him in the right way.”
League-leaders Arsenal host third-placed Spurs later on Saturday.