Cedric Soares has expressed disappointment at not playing for Arsenal this season, as manager Mikel Arteta admits the full-back “deserved” more playing time.
The 31-year-old Euro 2016 winner has not played a minute of football for league leaders Gunners so far this season and was again an unused substitute on Thursday 1-0 Europa League victory over PSV Eindhoven.
Cedric made 55 appearances in all competitions in his first two-and-a-half years at Emirates Stadium but has fallen behind Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu in Arteta’s pecking order at right-back.
“Obviously I’m disappointed not to have played this season,” he told the PA news agency.
“I think since I’ve been at Arsenal I’ve had positive responses every time I’ve had a chance to give positive answers on the pitch.
“I worked hard every day because that’s the only way I know to get where you want to be.
“Obviously I want to play and help the team win and achieve their goals and I’ll take the opportunity if I get it. I feel in top form and I’m always 100 percent ready to help the team.”
After the PSV win, Arteta admitted Cedric “deserved” more minutes for his team since returning from an injury that sidelined him earlier in the season.
“The competition is one thing, the other because he was injured for a while,” said the Spaniard when asked about Cedric’s continued absence.
“He had a recurring injury but now he’s fully fit and a player who deserves to play and I want to give him the minutes because he deserves it.”
Arsenal travel to Southampton on Sunday for another win to maintain their four-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Cedric is not expected to play against his former club as he is likely to miss out on a place in Portugal’s World Cup squad due to his lack of playing time, his last cap coming in March 2021.
Though unhappy with the lack of opportunities, Cedric insists he is ready and willing to go if asked.
“I will always remain fully committed and ready whenever I’m needed,” he added.
“I like helping the team on and off the pitch and that’s important to me. Challenges are part of football and we have to understand that.”
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