The Evening Standard report that Arsenal are hoping Takehiro Tomiyasu will return to full fitness over the international break, after his recent struggles with a calf injury.
After talks with Japan, it was agreed that Tomiyasu would stay with Arsenal over the break, and he’s aiming to use that time to get fully fit.
Arsenal are next in action against Crystal Palace on Monday, April 4th at 20:00 BST, so the right-back still has the best part of two weeks to recover.
Mikel Arteta has admitted that Arsenal are being particularly careful with Tomiyasu right now.
“He had a recurring injury around the same place (as before),” Arteta said before Arsenal’s game against Aston Villa. “After that, you have to be very cautious.”
Japan have some pivotal World Cup qualifiers coming up this month, particularly the opening game against Australia on Thursday morning.
If they win, they’ll guarantee finishing above Australia and thus achieve qualification to the final tournament.
If they lose, Japan would be relying on Australia slipping up in the final game or a tricky qualifying play-off run in the summer.
Tomiyasu was on a run of five straight starts for Japan before his injury problems this year, playing at centre-back and keeping three clean sheets in those five games.
But Arsenal, Tomiyasu, and Japan evidently decided that it wasn’t worth the risk to his fitness to include him this time.