Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has explained why Declan Rice missed the 5-3 win over Barcelona in a preseason friendly.
According to Arteta, Rice suffered an injury in training ahead of last night’s game and was not prepared to take any risks with the club’s record signing.
The England international made his non-competitive debut in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against Manchester United and Arteta had hoped to give his new-look midfield more valuable game time against the Spanish champions.
Rice, however, was forced to watch from the sidelines as his new teammates recorded an impressive victory in what was, at times, a bruising encounter.
Asked to explain the former West Ham skipper’s absence, Arteta said: ‘Dec had quite a strong kick in training and didn’t want to take the risk, he wasn’t comfortable to train yesterday and today, and we decided not to play him.’
The Gunners were also missing Oleksandr Zinchenko who is yet to feature in pre-season having also been absent during the run-in last term.
‘With Alex, he had a muscular injury again unfortunately,’ added Arteta. ‘He’s getting back – I think he’ll be back soon, but it’s a shame that he hasn’t been with us the whole tour.’