Jonas Eidevall has confirmed Beth Mead will travel as part of Arsenal Women’s squad for Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier against Swedish side Linkoping.
Mead, who has been sidelined since November after rupturing her ACL, is the first of a group of Arsenal players to return from such injury.
Vivianne Miedema (December), Leah Williamson (April), Laura Wienroither (May) and Teyah Goldie (June) all suffered the same fate as Mead, and Eidevall hopes the winger’s return can serve as inspiration to those continuing to rehab ACL injuries.
“Beth is here and she can travel with us,” Eidevall confirmed. “She is the first of our long-term injuries to return. We hope that is a turning point for more players to come back as well.
“Mentally we hope this is a lift for the other injured players too, to see her coming back, because we know this will happen again this season.
He continued: “It’s so nice when you welcome a player back because you know how hard they have fought for so many months. That starts off the pitch and then on the pitch to be able to get into this shape.”
When asked if Mead is likely to feature against Linkoping, Eidevall added: “No. She is not there yet, this comes a little too early for her. But she is not very far.”
The Women’s Super League makes its highly anticipated return live on Sky Sports on Sunday October 1, as Chelsea begin the defence of their title at home to Tottenham. Arsenal kick off their campaign at the Emirates Stadium against Liverpool.
Mead return timely boost as WSL nears
Sky Sports’ Laura Hunter:
“It goes without say that getting Beth Mead back will serve as a huge boost for Arsenal on the eve of a new season. The timing couldn’t be better. The Gunners missed Mead’s spark last term, particularly in the latter stages of a campaign that tailed off quite dramatically.
“Arsenal’s injury woes derailed any hopes of further silverware last year. They pipped Chelsea to the Conti Cup in March, but spread themselves too thin across other competitions. Mead was one of a number of high profile injuries, including those named above – not forgetting captain Kim Little.
“Had all of those stayed fit – and we’re speculating here, but still – there’s a very real chance Arsenal could have made the Champions League final, perhaps even won it. They certainly ran runners-up Wolfsburg close in the semis with a hopelessly threadbare squad.
“Mead’s return will also be music to the ears of new signing Alessia Russo, who’ll be the beneficiary of the winger’s abundant service from wide right. The two link brilliantly for England – and will now compete in the same domestic colours for the first time. That could be a real difference maker, as Eidevall looks to make good on his promise of competing for WSL honours until the bitter end for the first time since he took charge in 2021.”
Key dates for the 2023/24 season
- Barclays Women’s Super League opening weekend: Sunday October 1
- Barclays Women’s Championship opening weekend: August 26 – August 27
- FA Women’s Continental League Cup final: March 30/31
- Barclays Women’s Championship final weekend: Sunday April 28
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup final: May 11/12
- Barclays Women’s Super League final weekend: Sunday May 18