Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed he is still not fit enough to play until early January at least.
The 32-year-old is yet to make an appearance this season after suffering a severe knee injury in pre-season which saw him undergo surgery right before the campaign started.
Mertesacker, who returned to first team training two weeks ago, was expected to help fill the void of the injured Shkodran Mustafi with Gabriel struggling alongside Laurent Koscielny.
However, the Arsenal captain insists the fixtures against West Brom and Bournemouth have come too soon for him.
“We have two games coming up that I probably won’t play in,” Mertesacker said in an interview. “I can relax a little bit more but I’m going to be with the lads for most of the time to give them support.”
Even so, the German insists he will not take training for granted during that period as he fights to win back a place in the starting eleven.
“I cannot switch off, I need to train every day to get fit. It will be a different one for me because I won’t have the pressure of playing games, but I’ll train every single day to make sure I’m match fit as soon as possible.” he added
“To spend some time with the family will be good but this is a very important period for us due to our last week, where we’ve struggled performance-wise and results-wise.”