Arsenal’s Diaby delighted to be back

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has spoken of his happiness at returning to the Gunners’ squad this weekend, Sky Sports has reported.

The Frenchman has had a torrid time with injuries and has yet to take to the field for the Arsenal first team this season. His last appearance came in March 2013 but he was named as a substitute for Sunday’s 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. Although he didn’t get on to the pitch, Diaby has said he is prepared for a run-out despite considering retirement at one point.

“I would have loved to play 10 minutes this weekend,” he told L’Equipe. “I was counting substitutions: one, two, and three. There was big desire. I am ready. Anyway I am already happy to have reached this point.

“It has been the longest absence of my whole career,” Diaby continued. “You ask yourself if you are still a football player. You think about giving up. I told myself: I am fed-up. I quit! I talked to my parents, brothers, sisters and friends. Then, one day I woke up: no, out of the question to quit.

“I am a believer and in my belief despair doesn’t exist. Moreover I am only 28-year-old. I still have five, six years remaining, maybe more.”

Diaby added that he hopes to feature in Arsenal’s last game of the season, away at Norwich City, and the FA Cup final against Hull on May 17. He also hasn’t given up completely on making the France squad for the World Cup, while admitting that it is unlikely.

“My current objectives? Playing for the last Premier League day. And if my dark season could finish with a win in the Cup final, it would be wonderful,” he said. “World Cup? There are two matches remaining, so you have to be realistic. But if I could be the 23rd player on the plane to Brazil… I am dreaming about that.”

Diaby has made a total of 180 appearances for Arsenal since a 2006 move to north London from Auxerre. He played 15 times for Arsenal last season and once for France, scoring in a 1-0 World Cup qualification win over Finland in September.

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