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Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal won’t ‘rush’ Gabriel Jesus as striker nears return for Gunners


Jesus took part in training on Wednesday morning ahead of the Gunners’ Europa League Round of 16 game against Sporting.

The Brazilian has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in the World Cup and is closing in on a comeback.

Arsenal and Arteta, however, refused to confirm whether Jesus had traveled to Lisbon for Thursday’s game, with the latter warning that the striker needed time to get fired again.

“We will try not to rush it,” Arteta said. “We will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when he feels comfortable, while giving the team a boost that they will definitely need in the coming weeks.

“Everything is going well, he also needs time to get that confidence and physicality to compete with a free spirit and once he’s free to do that, we’ll launch him.

“The team news will be tomorrow. We have brought some players and you will see tomorrow who is available.

Arsenal will be permanently without strikers Eddie Nketiah (ankle) and Leandro Trossard (groin) for the game against Sporting. Left-back Kieran Tierney is also out through illness. The trio will be assessed ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Fulham on Sunday.

“Let’s see how they evolve,” Arteta said. “Obviously we’ve had some issues the past few days and I’m trying to accommodate everyone and get everyone in the best possible condition for tomorrow.”

Arteta is expected to make changes on Thursday night, with the Gunners flying high at the top of the Premier League.

He is, however, reluctant to field a brand new XI after fielding strong sides in cup competitions this season.

“Of course everyone wants to play,” Arteta said. “It’s also true when we wanted to rotate players, they were injured and unavailable. Tomorrow, maybe that will be the case.

“Sometimes it has been difficult and the players have to deserve to play the minutes. To be fair in football is very difficult.

“You have to be really good at communicating your decisions to help the players understand what you’re doing, but you have to think about the best of the team all the time.

“We want everyone to feel important and we’ll try to make them feel that way.”

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