Unai Emery has praised Dani Ceballos’ mentality and ‘hunger’ after Arsenal’s Premier League opener away to Newcastle.
Ceballos completed a season-long loan move from Real Madrid to Arsenal in the summer and the 23-year-old midfielder made two appearances for the north London outfit in pre-season.
Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba – who has been loaned back to Saint-Etienne – also joined the Gunners in a busy transfer window for the club.
Ceballos took a heavy kick to his ankle during the Gunners’ defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp and Emery feared the worst for his new player.
However, Ceballos returned to training the following day and is in line to make his first-team debut at St. James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.
‘Ceballos’ mind is very strong,’ Emery said ahead of the match.
‘His mentality. Last Sunday, when he received a big kick on his ankle I thought “oh, it’s broken”.
‘But after, on Monday, he was training – (he said) “I’m fine and want to train”.
‘He is showing us every day his ambition, his hunger is big. I think we need players like this.’
Arsenal’s £72million summer signing Pepe also featured against Newcastle, but Emery says he will be ‘patient’ with the Ivorian forward.
‘Each day for him and for us is information we can save,’ he said. ‘We hope he can be [available] for this match. With him, I want to be patient.
‘He is in the same situation as the other players who have been coming in the last days. ‘
For example, Lucas Torreira, after one week of training today has his first ten minutes.
‘With Pepe it’s the same. It’s better to be training and be working with us.’