Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko has been training separately from the rest of the squad as he continues his recovery from injury.
The 26-year-old missed the final few games of the previous campaign with a calf injury, and is still yet to return to full fitness with the Community Shield against his former club just weeks away.
The Athletic have now reported that he is working on his fitness as he steps up his recovery, in individual training sessions separate to the rest of the squad, but it is still unclear whether he will be fit in time for the clash with Manchester City.
Zinchenko has suffered from injury problems throughout his career, and missed 15 games across the Premier League and Europa League for the Gunners last season.
How important is Zinchenko to Arsenal?
It is crucial that Zinchenko returns soon to gain fitness ahead of a demanding season for Arsenal, with the club now back in the Champions League.
Mikel Arteta recruited the Ukrainian from Man City last year and immediately made him the first-choice left-back ahead of Kieran Tierney, describing Zinchenko as “exceptional,” and played him in an inverted role which often saw him push up into midfield in possession.
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Although he has had his weak moments defensively, his outstanding technical qualities, as well as his hybrid role, have proven to be crucial to raising Arsenal’s level from the side that finished fifth, to a team that can challenge for the title.
Arsenal do have other options at left-back in Tierney, Jakub Kiwior and Takehiro Tomiyasu, but they will be hoping Zinchenko returns quickly to help build up his fitness to attempt to have a less injury-hit campaign.
The former City star is capable of playing in multiple positions, but his hybrid role between the defence and midfield is almost perfectly tailored towards him, and adjustments will have to be made if he does not return soon.