Soccer-Arsenal's Tomiyasu available after World Cup, Smith Rowe close to return

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Round of 16 - Japan v Croatia - Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar - December 5, 2022 Japan's Takehiro Tomiyasu looks dejected after losing the penalty shootout as Japan are eliminated from the World Cup REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Takehiro Tomiyasu will be available for leaders Arsenal at Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday after returning from the World Cup, manager Mikel Arteta said.

Defender Tomiyasu recently returned to the squad after featuring at the World Cup where he played in the last-16 game against Croatia who beat Japan 3-1 in a penalty shootout.

"Yeah, he’s getting closer and closer. He’s been training with us so he’s available," Arteta told reporters.

The Spaniard also said that attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe was closing in on returning from a groin injury.

"Very much. He’s made big steps in the last week or so. He took part in some training sessions lately and looked good. We’re really keen to have him back soon," Arteta added.

The Arsenal manager said his team have learned from the 3-1 League Cup loss to Brighton at home in early November.

"... they are a really good team. They are playing at a level that dominates almost every phase of play that is relevant to dominate a football match. A team that has a lot confidence and plays with a lot of personality," Arteta said.

"They’re someone who I’ve followed for a period now."

Arteta also commented on the death of Brazil great Pele who died on Thursday aged 82 after a long battle with cancer.

"Well everything that I’ve seen and heard of him has been through videos and people who knew him personally and a lot of relationships that I have in football," the Spaniard said.

"He’s someone who probably changed the dimension of world football because he could do a bit of everything. He was the most complete player the world has ever seen."

Arsenal are top on 40 points, five ahead of Manchester City in second after 15 games. Brighton are seventh on 24 points.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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