Arsenal defender William Saliba says it was difficult watching his side play in the final moments of the season while he was out injured.

Last season, Saliba was a staple in Arsenal’s defence until a back injury cut his season short. He had played every minute of Arsenal’s first 27 Premier League games while he was available.

They were top of the Premier League at the time and making a strong title challenge, but only five victories in 11 games followed as Rob Holding and Jakub Kiwior struggled to fill the whole left by the Frenchman.

The manager Mikel Arteta lamented the lack of squad depth as a major factor in his team’s title quest fizzling out as only two clean sheets came in that period when the first-choice central pairing was no more.

And Salbia admitted it was ‘very, really hard’ not to be able to help his club as their challenge faltered, but he is eager to return to the pitch during pre-season.

“Honestly, it was so, so, so hard to let my team play without me,” he said according to the Metro. “Football is like this but it was really, really hard to not help my team in these moments.

“It was very hard because it was the last two months. It’s the moment when every game is so important. It was really, really hard, but you know when you have an injury, you have to learn and come back stronger.

“And now I can’t wait to play again. I’m so, so hungry to play on. I can’t wait to be on the pitch.

“I had a little break and after I went to Marbella to do my rehab with the staff. It was good but of course, I was waiting for the pre-season.”

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