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Vermaelen ready to return

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has declared himself fit for a return to first-team action after coming through a reserve fixture unscathed.

Vermaelen posed for comeback

Vermaelen has not represented Arsenal since August as he has suffered a series of setbacks in his bid to return from an Achilles injury, but he featured in a reserve match against Manchester United on Thursday.

"I'm fit at the moment, I feel great and, in training, I don't feel any problems, so physically I feel good," Vermaelen told the club's official website.

It remains to be seen whether Arsene Wenger will risk fielding Vermaelen in the club's final three Premier League games, but the defender says he is available if called upon.

"It's up to the boss - he makes the decisions," he said. "I'm available at the moment so I hope I will be back in the squad soon and that is my target."

He added: "It's been really frustrating because at the beginning I thought it was only going to be one week or a few days and I kept getting setbacks.

"It was a hard time but from these kind of situations you learn a lot. Your mental strength will be better and you always have to focus. It's just a hard time but in these times you learn a lot of things.

"It's always important for players to have a good pre-season but for me it will be good to be fit before [the] holiday. I can go into the holiday with a clear head and come back fresh. This season was really unlucky for me but I am looking forward to the next months and the next years."

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