'Annoyed' Smith Rowe on course to return for Arsenal's next match

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Emile Smith Rowe says it is "annoying" to have played such a small part in Arsenal's record start to a Premier League season, but he is hopeful of returning for their next match.

The 22-year-old underwent surgery on a persistent groin injury in September and was ruled out until after the World Cup break.

Smith Rowe featured in 33 of Arsenal's 38 Premier League games last season – only three outfield players featured more regularly – but he has played just 48 minutes this term.

Arsenal are top of the division with their highest ever points tally (37) after 14 games, five points more than Manchester City, and Smith Rowe is eager to get back playing.

The three-cap England international attended Saturday's qualifying session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and provided an update on his rehabilitation.

"It's going really well at the moment," he told Sky Sports. "I'm really happy for the team but sometimes it's annoying when I can't feel like I’m involved, I can't be on the pitch.

"It's amazing to see them doing so well and I can't wait to get back. Hopefully I'll be back by the first game after the World Cup.

"I'm actually out here [in Saudi Arabia] doing rehab. Today was my day off and I'm back training tomorrow. I'm back on the pitch and stuff so it's going well."

Arsenal's first match after the five-week break is a home clash against West Ham on December 26, which is just eight days after the World Cup final.

Smith Rowe would have been in contention for a place in England's squad for Qatar if not for his injury issues this season, but he is supporting his team-mates from afar.

"I'm really confident in the team. Obviously we missed out at the last minute in the last big tournament (Euro 2020)," he said.

"I believe the boys are going to bring it home this time. The squad is really strong and it's looking good."