Mikel Arteta: Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe is not ready for 90 minutes just yet

Mikel Arteta: Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe is not ready for 90 minutes just yet

Mikel Arteta is glad to have Emil Smith Rowe back in action, but the Arsenal boss is also wary of pushing him too hard too early after recovering from injury.

Smith Rowe started his first Gunners match in 499 days on Wednesday night, in a 1-0 Carabao Cup win at Brentford.

The 23-year-old has endured a succession of injury setbacks but almost marked his return with goal, only to be denied by the outstretched leg of Bees keeper Mark Flekken.

But Arteta, without seven players through injury at the Gtech Stadium, has warned not to expect too much too soon from the forward.

"I think he had really good moments in the first half, and the game was much easier for him, the way he was developing with his qualities, and the game we started to play after five or 10 minutes in the second half," said the Gunners boss.

"And then after he was struggling more. Physically, he's still not there to play 90 minutes, we have to bear in mind that we have four or five players in that field and that was big concern for us today in the line-up, because we have seven players that are not fit now."

Reiss Nelson's eighth-minute goal, following a mistake in the Brentford defence, was enough to send Arsenal through to a fourth-round trip to West Ham.

Brentford were vastly improved from their 3-1 defeat by Everton last weekend.

"I was very pleased with the performance and that's what we need to continue with going into the game against Nottingham Forest on Sunday," said boss Thomas Frank.

READ MORE: Jurgen Klopp's captaincy gamble: Curtis Jones takes Liverpool armband