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HomeWomen's FootballBeth Mead triumphantly returns to Arsenal after being 11 months out of...

Beth Mead triumphantly returns to Arsenal after being 11 months out of action due to an ACL injury

In her first Arsenal appearance in 11 months, Beth Mead delivered a match-winning assist as she strives to move behind injury and return to her Euros-winning form.

Before Beth Mead took the field, the Emirates Stadium was filled with anticipation. The crowd cheered loudly during her warm-up on the sideline and chanted ‘Meado, Meado’ while she received tactical instructions moments before her long-awaited return. When she finally entered the pitch in the 88th minute, the crowd roared with excitement.

Initially, it appeared that Beth Mead comeback from injury might not happen on Sunday. Arsenal was trailing Aston Villa since the 25th minute when Maz Pacheco headed the visitors in front after exploiting some defensive lapses from a set-piece.

Despite their efforts, the Gunners struggled to break through the opposing defense, and their winless start to the new Women’s Super League season seemed destined to continue.

The question is who would head coach Jonas Eidevall seize the opportunity to introduce Mead?

Beth Mead talks of the ‘pretty amazing’ comeback from injury

The 35,829 fans at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday left with satisfaction. They witnessed not only the return of the 2022 Ballon d’Or runner-up but also her remarkable contribution to a stunning comeback. Mead entered the game in the 88th minute. In the 92nd minute, Katie McCabe scored the equalizer, and in the 94th minute, Mead set up Russo to secure the winning goal.

“Pretty amazing,” the England star told reporters afterwards, describing her feelings in the moment. “It’s been a long, long time coming. There have been a lot of hard days, a lot of good days. I think, ultimately, you want to do your job, you want to do something you love – and that had been taken away for such a long time. So to be able to get out there, with that type of reception from the fans, was pretty incredible.”

“She deserves that reception. She’s worked so hard,” Eidevall added. “She’s had a really difficult year, both being injured and her mum passed away. We know that it’s been incredibly tough for her and it’s so nice to see her back on the pitch, seeing her being able to perform straight away.

“You never know that. You have the hope, otherwise I would never have put her on, but you don’t know it until you’ve seen it. That was very nice, so a special moment.”

Jonas Eidevall admits Mead has to be patient to get back into the game completely

However, amidst all the excitement, it is crucial for all parties, including Mead, her teammates, and the coaching staff at both Arsenal and the England national team, to maintain patience in her rehabilitation process.

ACL injuries are brutal. Mead described her time out as being “torture throughout”, both “mentally and physically”. 

United States defender Tierna Davidson even said in June: “A lot of people say that it usually takes six to nine months after you’ve returned from this long-term injury to really feel like ‘yourself’ again.” Mead isn’t going to be back to her Ballon d’Or nominee form overnight, even if the early signs are positive.

“It’s not like she does 15 minutes here and now she is a 90-minute player. It doesn’t work like that,” Eidevall said on Sunday, possibly sending a message to England.

“We work closely with the medical team, as we have all the way to this point. We continue to take good decisions, which is not about stopping her from playing, but also not being too offensive or optimistic and taking risks. It is important to manage this process in a good way and that has not ended just because she did 15 minutes today.”

The 15 minutes she played showcased her brightness, sharpness, and match-winning abilities. While there is undoubtedly more work for Mead to do before she reaches her peak performance levels, her brief appearance on Sunday undoubtedly left fans eager for more.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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