Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says that Reiss Nelson’s recent absence from the squad is down to a “little niggle” which has continued to hamper his progress.
The winger has struggled for game time this season, making only seven first-team appearances.
But four of those outings came in the space of 12 days during November and December as he began to build up his influence in the side.
Indeed, he played in Europa League victories over Molde and Rapid Vienna before playing against Leeds and Wolves in the Premier League.
However, the 2-1 defeat to Wolves has proved to be his most recent game and the reasons for his continued absence have remained somewhat unclear.
Speaking in his latest press conference, though, Arteta moved to rectify the situation with an injury update.
“It’s a shame because I felt he was getting into his performance levels, he started to have some really good games and he was starting to build that momentum.
“This little injury set him back a little bit. But I think he’s been much better.”
Arteta confirmed elsewhere in his press conference that he intends to loan several players out in January. Indeed, the likes of Sead Kolasinac and Calum Chambers could leave.
But Arteta moved to keep Nelson’s future at The Emirates.
Arteta admits to Nelson mistake
Asked if he was saving Nelson for a loan exit, Arteta said: “No. Only it’s my mistake then not clarify the situation what is happening.
“But yeah, he’s not been 100 per cent fit. That’s the reason why he’s been out and he’s not been featuring with the squad.”
England Under-21 international Nelson’s matches against Leeds and Wolves remain his only top-flight outings this season.
Indeed, he did not make the matchday squads before that, despite featuring in the Europa League.