Eidevall: Williamson & Souza’s Return Is A Boost For Arsenal

Impetus’ Ben Gilby dialled in to Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall‘s media conference today and heard some positive injury news for the North London side at last, plus the Gunners boss’ call for support to player welfare to prevent more long-term injuries (2/12/22).

Above: She’s back – Arsenal’s England captain Leah Williamson. Photo: Sky Sports.

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall revealed to the media this afternoon that he believes Lionesses skipper Leah Williamson will be able to play some part in tomorrow’s game with Everton at Meadow Park.

“With Leah coming (back) in you see the qualities she will bring on and off the ball. She is very motivated about getting onto the pitch. I think you have to do the best with the hand you are dealt with. If you are dealt the hand of being injured, you have to deal with it.

“We had to prioritise the physical of her getting ready, but also the mental part to get some time off with not being in a strict team environment to get some freedom. With the national teams going far (in tournaments), they (the players) don’t get much free time. If any human, your life is like that for a long time, it is hard.”

Jonas Eidevall on managing Leah Williamson’s recovery.

Also back available is Rafaella Souza as the Gunners finally have some good news on that front after recent devastating blows surrounding Beth Mead and Kim Little. The Gunners head coach also revealed that he expects Swedish star Lina Hurtig to be back within a month. “(She’s) progressing well, but not ready for the matchday squad. Hopefully before Christmas.”

With Beth Mead just one of a number female footballers sidelined with ACL injuries at present, Eidevall underlined where he sees things need to change to help player welfare and reduce the threat of long-term injury.

“Things are commercially driven. I read something today about why there are so many ACL injuries comparing men’s football to women’s. Top-level men play more games but have fewer injuries. So we need to look at the support around it. We need a schedule with all the mechanisms around it. The more demands we put on the players in terms of schedule, the more support we need to give.”

The Gunners chief knows his team go into tomorrow’s return to Boreham Wood as favourites, but he is more than aware that Everton are a far better side this season.

“When I came here 18 months ago, it looked like, people said, they would challenge for a Champions League place, that is not the case now. I don’t think they have lost a lot of players since then, but they are playing with their shoulders down now without that expectation.

“They are trying to build something long-term. They are very consistent in doing what they do, regardless of opponents. They have some interesting tactical questions to their play.”

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