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Jurrien Timber returns to Arsenal training after ACL injury

:Headline: Jurrien Timber returns to Arsenal training after ACL injury:
Arsenal defender Jurrien Timber is back in training after recovering sooner than expected from an ACL injury suffered on the opening day of the season.
Sports Mole

Arsenal defender Jurrien Timber has made positive strides in his return from a serious knee injury.

The summer signing was back in training with the Gunners on Wednesday - the first time that he has been pictured on the grass since tearing his ACL on the opening day of the season against Nottingham Forest.

Timber joined Arsenal for an initial £34m from Ajax in July, with the deal potentially rising to £38.5m with performance-based add-ons.

After starting in the Community Shield win over Manchester City in the season's traditional curtain-raiser, the Dutchman looked likely to be their starting left-back for the season.

With no out-and-out full-backs at the club, given that Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko played much of last season in those areas, Timber appeared to be a shrewd addition to the squad.

At Ajax, the young defender had shown his versatility, operating on both flanks and in the centre, but the partnership of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba meant that most of his action was likely to come as a full-back.

Timber then also started against Forest on the opening weekend, but suffered the serious injury late in the first half, with first fears suggesting that his season was already over.

Some reports had also revealed that there would be no possibility of Timber playing at the European Championships in the summer with the Netherlands because of the severity of the injury.

While a return before the end of the season was never ruled out, getting up to match fitness in time for a major competition would likely have seen him get overlooked by the Dutch manager Ronald Koeman.

However, Timber appears to be recovering ahead of schedule, as social media posts from Arsenal showed the 22-year-old in training as part of a separate group which also included Leandro Trossard.

Timber's fast-tracked return from injury has also seen him included in Arsenal's squad for the Champions League knockouts, where they face Porto in their last-16 second leg in two weeks' time.

While that may be too much of a stretch to expect him to return so soon, his addition suggests that Arsenal believe he could return ahead of a potential quarter-final in April.

Arsenal's next outing comes at Bramall Lane, when Mikel Arteta takes his side to South Yorkshire to face Sheffield United on Monday night, with the Gunners just two points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

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Read more about Jurrien Timber Mikel Arteta Leandro Trossard Ronald Koeman Ben White Oleksandr Zinchenko Gabriel Magalhaes William Saliba Football
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City32227376324473
2Arsenal32225575264971
3Liverpool32218372314171
4Aston Villa33196868491963
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs32186865491660
6Newcastle UnitedNewcastle321551269521750
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd32155124748-150
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham33139115258-648
9Chelsea31138106152947
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton321111105250244
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32127134651-543
12Fulham33126154951-242
13Bournemouth32119124757-1042
14Crystal Palace3289153754-1733
15Brentford3388174758-1132
16Everton3298153248-1627
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3379174258-1626
18Luton TownLuton3367204670-2425
19Burnley3348213368-3520
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3237223084-5416
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