Arsenal right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu has conceded that he is “not satisfied” after falling down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium.
The 23-year-old immediately cemented his place in Mikel Arteta‘s first XI after arriving from Bologna last year, which saw Hector Bellerin complete a loan move to Real Betis.
Tomiyasu – who was also thought to have been on the radar of Tottenham Hotspur – earned plaudits for his competent displays in the Gunners backline, but injuries started to bedevil him.
The Japan international firstly sustained a calf issue against Leeds United back in December, which saw him miss a total of 12 Premier League games due to various setbacks.
Tomiyasu then came off with a hamstring injury in a 2-0 loss to Newcastle United in the penultimate game of the season, and he was not ready to face Crystal Palace on the opening day of the 2022-23 campaign either.
With William Saliba now establishing himself as a key player for the Gunners, Ben White has been shifted over to right-back, forcing Tomiyasu to accept a peripheral role.
Arsenal’s new defensive formula has worked wonders in the early stages of the season, with Arteta’s side posting six wins from seven to storm to the top of the Premier League table.
Speaking to reporters before Japan’s friendlies with the USA and Ecuador, Tomiyasu insisted that he would not rest on his laurels, saying: “What is required in this league is quite high and I’m not satisfied.
“When you look at the players selected as starters in the Premier League games, you will understand what is required to be there. I will work hard in order to get my position back.”
White has started all six of Arsenal’s Premier League games this season, with Tomiyasu earning a mere 71 minutes as a substitute after working hard to build up his fitness.
The former Bologna man did play the full 90 against FC Zurich in the Europa League on September 8, and he has recorded one assist from 29 games for the Gunners in all competitions.
Tomiyasu has not lost his place in the Japan squad despite his lack of game time, but White was overlooked for a place in Gareth Southgate‘s England setup for September’s Nations League games with Italy and Germany.
Arteta was left bemused with White’s omission, telling reporters: “I think to have versatile players to play at the level that Ben can, in both positions, in my opinion it’s something that any manager wants.
“That’s Gareth’s decision and his coaching staff, but whenever Ben gets the call he will be ready. Gareth picks the best team for now, that doesn’t mean that will be the case in November.
“Everything that we can to do help Ben we are trying to do, and I think Ben is giving a lot of reasons to be selected. That’s all we can do.”
Arsenal will endeavour to open up a four-point gap over Tottenham Hotspur in the table when they return to domestic action with a North London derby against their bitter rivals at the Emirates on October 1.