Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus opens up on Eddie Nketiah competition and “s***” injury struggles

Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus has opened up about the seriousness of the knee injury he picked up last season, the setback he suffered in pre-season and the competition he faces from Eddie Nketiah

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus is finally smiling again after admitting his latest injury setback left him feeling like “s***.”

Arsenal striker Jesus missed the start of this season after he admitted the pain from his knee was so bad that he could not run or move. Jesus first suffered the injury during last year’s World Cup and his absence was a major blow for Arsenal’s title challenge. He returned before the end of the campaign only for the pain to flare up again in pre-season.

‌Brazil star Jesus, 26, underwent a small procedure last month and is back now hoping to boost Arsenal’s title challenge having marked his latest return with a goal in Sunday’s win over Manchester United. Jesus said: “First day is s*** when you find out but the day after you realise you have to keep going, fighting and then smile.

‌“Because I have a life. God’s given me a life, God let me wake up every morning so I have to be grateful. So I’m blessed. I can walk, I can be here, I can smile. So nothing to complain. Just believe in God and keep fighting. At the end of last season I was completely fine, I felt nothing.

‌“I felt it once since I came back, in a training session in a last minute. Then the day after I was OK and I finished the season fine, playing well. Then I went on holidays and felt nothing. When I came back, in the first week, still nothing. Then after I started to feel it. And for me, it was a case of, ‘If I’m not 100%, I won’t be myself’. I was trying.

‌‌“Then me, personally, I’m good with the plan, I was keeping playing and training. I was feeling it a little bit but for me it was nothing. But then we hit a point when I couldn’t run or move. So I decided to do a surgery and that was it. It was unlucky for me. It’s tough.

‌“After pre-season, you go and try but you feel in pain. And then I made the decision to do surgery as quickly as possible to come back stronger. Now I’m feeling good. It’s so important to find the rhythm again. So I’m back, I feel good and I’m happy.”‌

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Jesus is Arsenal’s No9 and vital for Mikel Arteta’s plan even if he faces fresh competition from Eddie Nketiah. However, Jesus has a title-winning mentality from his days at Manchester City and that will be crucial for Arsenal this season as they try to overhaul Pep Guardiola’s men in the title race.

But Jesus, who has not been named in Brazil’s latest squad as he looks to continue his rehabilitation, says competition is healthy if they are to be successful this season.‌ He said: “First of all, competition is always good - for me and for him. In all positions when you have competition it’s a good thing.

‌“From day one, I’m a big fan of Eddie because of the way he works and the way he trains is amazing. It’s not easy to come from the academy at a massive club and fight to play in the first team. Congrats to him, he’s doing so well and he deserves to be called in the England national team.

Eddie Nketiah stepped up in Jesus' absence at the start of the season and has been rewarded with an England call-up Eddie Nketiah stepped up in Jesus’ absence at the start of the season and has been rewarded with an England call-up (


David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

‌“For me personally, it’s good competition. It’s always good for the club because for sure he’s making me better and I’m making him better as well.”‌ Jesus also insists Arsenal showed their real character against United on Sunday to overcome going behind, what he called “bad decisions” and a big test to win which puts a gloss on their start to the campaign.

He added: “That’s the Premier League. Sometimes the game changes a lot. We conceded, we came back, we had a penalty, didn’t have a penalty. In my opinion there were some bad decisions from the referee. Even with their [disallowed] goal, maybe it was a foul on me but it was offside.

‌“Then after the game changed again, we scored two and we won the game. That’s it. When you play a massive game like this against a tough opponent, it’s always like this. We tried to win but they have quality as well - behind, in the middle, up front. That’s the Premier League, that’s why it’s the toughest league in the world.”

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