Not much has gone right for Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu in 2022. But things are certainly beginning to look up for the defender after receiving a massive boost during the international break.
The right-back, who has impressed since joining from Bologna on transfer deadline day last summer, had been a key player for the Gunners during the first half of the season. After making his debut against Norwich City in September, he went on to start the next 14 Premier League games in a row to establish himself as one of Mikel Arteta’s undroppables.
However, two separate calf issues have limited Tomiyasu to just two appearances across all competitions since the turn of the year, whilst he suffered a setback after returning to the matchday squad for Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Brentford last month. Having rushed the defender back once this season, Arteta has, understandably, taken a more cautious approach in recent weeks as he opted to stick with Cedric Soares at right-back against Liverpool and Aston Villa despite Tomiyasu’s return to training.
“We have been trying to push him, but with the handbrake a little bit because we need to be careful as we don’t want to get another injury with him,” the Gunners manager told reporters. “We don’t know [if tomorrow vs Liverpool is too soon]. Let’s see how he trains today.”
With that said, the good news is that Tomiyasu is expected to return to the Arsenal squad after the international break so he is in line to be available for selection against Crystal Palace on April 4. With the Gunners also facing the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Southampton next month, having their first-choice right-back fit again is certainly a massive boost for their top-four hopes.
And the positive news doesn’t end there. On Thursday morning Japan scored twice in the final five minutes to beat Australia 2-0 and seal their place at the 2022 Qatar World Cup which means Tomiyasu, provided he is healthy, has the chance to represent his country on the biggest stage later this year. Tomiyasu missed out on a call-up for this international window as he steps up his recovery at London Colney, but news that his teammates have booked the nation’s ticket for Qatar can only serve to provide extra motivation for him to return to action as soon as possible.
If called up for the tournament that takes place in December, Tomiyasu could come up against teammates such as Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Albert Sambi Lokonga with England, Brazil and Belgium among the teams who have also already qualified for the World Cup.