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Sep 7, 2012

Diaby wants to make up for lost time

Arsenal's Abou Diaby says he wants to forget about the injury problems that ruined last season by helping the Gunners build on their encouraging start to the campaign.

Diaby, 26, excelled as Arsene Wenger's side beat Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday and also produced solid performances in the 0-0 draws against Sunderland and Stoke.

The France international suffered a succession of calf problems last season, and revealed that he had been scared of another setback every time he regained fitness.

But although his form this season has seen him recalled to the France squad, he told Le Parisien: "I had some very difficult moments, some days when I was depressed, when it was tough, but even then I always kept faith.

"I always told myself that some people were in a worse position than me. I am 26 and I am aware that I am at a key moment in my career - that is why it was so important that I came back this season.

"Now I am careful about every detail. I leave nothing to chance. I am much more mature. I also had a full pre-season for the first time in ages.

"It is such an important season for me that I am working harder than ever to succeed. I want to prove to myself that I can go higher. I need to show what I can do on the pitch in the long term."

Revealing the psychological impact his injury problems had, he said: "Last season, before the Fulham game, I was shaking on the bench because I was scared of getting injured again. It was incredible.

"It was my destiny, it was written [to come back]. I had to fight to put an end to all those injuries and to be able to express myself on a pitch again."

France coach Didier Deschamps said he was delighted to have Diaby back in the France squad again, saying: "There always will be questions about his physical fragility but he prepared well - he played 90 minutes last weekend.

"He is on the right path. His potential is huge. He is a very interesting player. He's also 26, more mature, which is crucial for a midfielder."

Meanwhile, Wenger - in Switzerland, where he is attending the UEFA elite club coaches forum in Nyon - said Nicklas Bendtner still had a future with the Gunners despite being loaned out to Juventus.

"It is not for nothing that I loaned him to Juventus," Wenger told Tuttosport. "He is a talented player. He will grow [at Juventus] and then return to my team.

"The talent is not missing, otherwise I would not have bought him from Copenhagen when he was just 16 years old. We believe in him, and that is why we only gave him to Juventus on loan. Next year, we will bring him home."

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