Olivier Giroud is pushing to make his first start of the season for arsenal in Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Southampton.
The 29-year-old has appeared for just 12 minutes to date – as a substitute in last month’s 0-0 draw against Leicester – having been given an extended break by manager Arsene Wenger following his run to the final of Euro 2016 with France.
Giroud started for his country against Italy in a friendly on Thursday night, scoring the second goal in a 3-1 win before being withdrawn at half-time. He is expected to feature for France this evening in the opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Belarus and if he comes through that match unscathed, he will be considered for selection against Saints at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Wenger will weight up his options ahead of a big week with a difficult Champions League opener at Paris St Germain on Tuesday before a home game against Chelsea on the following Saturday.
Giroud believes he is ready to start all three matches – Wenger has opted in his absence to play Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal’s central striker with mixed results – and explained his manager’s caution in bringing him back up to speed is the reason for his absence.
“It is down to a lack of training since I got back from holiday,” he said.
“It if had been a priority, the manager would have asked me to come back sooner. That wasn’t the case. Don’t worry, everything is fine. I’m used to people doubting me. Since the start of my career, it has been the same.
“Maybe I need that so I don’t get too comfortable but between last season and the Euros, I’ve got no reason to doubt myself.”