Mikel Arteta has revealed youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe both remain doubts for Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Liverpool on Saturday night.
Saka was forced to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s England squad earlier this month with a hamstring strain and stayed put at Arsenal to receive treatment.
Smith Rowe, meanwhile, sat out of England Under-21s’ devastating European Championships defeat by Croatia on Wednesday night due to a hip issue.
Arteta revealed on Thursday morning that Saka is yet to return to training ahead of the highly-anticipated fixture with Jurgen Klopp’s side at the Emirates.
When asked about the winger’s fitness, Arteta said: “He hasn’t trained with the team yet.
“He’s been doing some individual work. We had to pull him out of the England squad unfortunately.
“He’s feeling better, but he hasn’t trained with the team yet.”
Arteta offered a slightly more positive outlook on Rowe’s chances of playing though and hopes to have him back in training on Friday.
The 20-year-old’s hip injury is set to be assessed by the club on Thursday and Arteta added: “He had discomfort with his hip and that’s why [England] decided to keep him out.
“We will see today how he is when we will speak with the doctors and the physios, and we will see if he is available for training tomorrow.”
They will be major losses for Arteta after growing in importance to his first-team plans in recent months.
Saka has become a regular starter, scoring six goals and providing seven assists this term, while Rowe has been used increasingly often since Christmas.
It promises to be a big week for the Gunners with the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie with Slavia Prague on Thursday night.
But Arteta insists he is purely focused on the Liverpool game and is targeting a strong finish to the season in a bid to secure a European finish.
He said: “For me the priority [this week] is Liverpool.
“We know that if we want to climb up the table and have a chance to be in Europe next season through the Premier League we will need a consistent run in the last nine games.
“We need to get a run of winning matches and the only way to do that by starting against Liverpool, we do not have any margin [for error] and we have to win the game.”