12 January 2020

Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs on 'inspirational' captain Kim Little, highlighting mental health and bouncing back from her 'devastating' ACL injury

Having come through one of the toughest periods of her career, Arsenal and England midfielder Jordan Nobbs is now looking forward to an exciting - and no doubt challenging - 2020.

Her injury nightmare has been well chronicled - the infamous ACL which struck in November 2018 ruling her out of the World Cup the following year and testing her physical and mental fortitude to the limit.

But today, as she steps out on the south coast at Brighton, with Arsenal sitting top of the Women's Super League, there's cause for optimism and anticipation of what's to come.

Speaking exclusively to NewsChain, the 27-year-old shared how she's coped with recovery and how she's been helped by the Arsenal 'family' she's so proud to be a part of.

"I was focused on getting myself back fit and getting ready for the start of the season. I always had that support there for me and I just took it when I needed it.

"It was tough... it was obviously one of the hardest parts of my career by far. No one wants the dreaded ACL injury but for it to come at a time where I miss club and country, especially a big major tournament, it was devastating.

"But when you play football you have to accept that injuries come with it. I'm past that now and I'm looking forward to an exciting year. You have to take these things when they come and just believe in yourself and get stronger and fitter as a player."

Nobbs is celebrating ten years at Arsenal this year (PA Images)

She added: "I think when it comes to mental health it can always be spoken about more. It needs to be highlighted and we need to ask each other if we are okay because in lots of industries, especially in football, the mental side is very, very tough.

"We have psychologists at England and Arsenal and they were there whenever I needed. I didn't look into it too much.

"I think the more we can support this area and be a part of it the better. We all need to stick together and make sure there's a support network there for everyone."

She says the environment at Arsenal means that any player can lean on each other in times of struggle. 

She said: "There's a handful [of players I'm close to at Arsenal], I'd say Danielle Carter, Leah Williamson and Kim Little.  

"They're people who have been at this club a very long time and I think you need those friendship groups that you can rely on and have an understanding with. But I think as a team we're very close and a lot of us could lean on each other's shoulders at any point."

Nobbs with Arsenal team mate Leah Williamson, left, after winning the FA Cup in 2016 (PA Images)

Scottish international and Arsenal captain Kim Little is a close friend, says Nobbs, and an inspiration in the changing room.

"She's our captain and one of the best players in the world. I think how she shows her professionalism on and off the pitch is great. She's a player that you would sign to play with. She is just such a key part of our team and I'm very honoured to play next to her."

Nobbs celebrates her tenth year with Arsenal this year after joining the club when she was just 17 back in 2010. She has made over 100 appearances for Arsenal and has no intentions of switching allegiances to another club.

"Arsenal's my club and I want to become an Arsenal legend. You can never say never but I'm very happy at this club and there's nothing right now that would change my mind from that."

Nobbs playing at Wembley for England last November (PA Images)

Her reputation in women's football is already setting a legacy. Nobbs retweeted fans over the Christmas period who had bought Arsenal shirts with her name printed on the back. 

She added: "It's incredible. The fact that people have names on the back of their shirts is great.

"There's record-breaking crowds at Wembley and we're getting sell-outs at Borehamwood, it is incredible to be a part of the change. Hopefully we have been great role models and people to look up to, to change the face of the women's game.

"I am very privileged to be a part of that, to go from not being professional, training twice a week to being able to say I play football for a living. Hopefully we can keep pushing in all areas and continue to be good role models to everyone who's been watching."

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