Jonas Eidevall provides positive injury update on Leah Williamson & Rafaelle

Williamson has been out with injury since October
Williamson has been out with injury since October / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Jonas Eidevall has confirmed that Leah Williamson and Rafaelle will return to the Arsenal matchday squad against Everton on Saturday following a two-month injury absence.

Williamson has not featured for the Gunners since 28 September after sustaining a foot injury while training with England in October.

Centre back partner Rafaelle has also been sidelined for over two months after fracturing the metatarsus bone in her foot against Ajax in the Champions League. Lotte Wubben-Moy and Steph Catley have deputised in the heart of the Arsenal defence in the pair's absence.

"Leah and Rafa are able to go back into the matchday squad here tomorrow," said Eidevall. "That's obviously pleasing for us to get players back from injuries and improving numbers again in the squad."

Arsenal have won six from eight since Williamson and Rafaelle have been out injured, but suffered their first defeat of the season with a 3-2 loss to WSL title rivals Manchester United in their last league outing.

"When I see us practice and these two players coming into our environment, I think it helps us a lot," Eidevall added. "Because we get two more players of very high quality into our environment, into our way of playing, of course that would boost any team and hopefully that will for us."

Having been a key part of England's Euro 2022 triumph this summer before being thrust quickly back into club football with Arsenal, Eidevall admitted the club had used Williamson's injury layoff as an opportunity for her to switch off following a hectic year.

"In that process when she was off the pitch, we have tried also to prioritise for her not only physically getting ready but also helping with the mental part of the game; the getting time off from not being in a strict team environment all the time, to allow for some more freedom in the time planning," Eidevall explained.

"I think that's what we need to remember with the national team players and especially when they go far in the tournaments in the summer; they essentially don't get any free time at all. Any human being if you were living a life like that over a long period, I think that would restrict your motivation."

Arsenal will continue to be without Lina Hurtig and Kim Little through injury for Saturday's clash with Everton. Eidevall admitted he was hopeful the former would be in contention to return before the Christmas break, but was unable to give a timeframe for the latter's comeback.

"She (Hurtig) is progressing well, just like Kim Little is," the Arsenal boss explained. "But not ready to be in the matchday squad. Hopefully before Christmas."