The new season is just around the corner, and one player who cannot wait for the action to get underway is Abou Diaby.

The midfielder returned after 14 months out with a knee injury at Norwich in the final game of last season, and he says it was a relief to be back in action.

“It was a great feeling because I had been waiting for that moment for so long. I worked hard during my rehabilitation to come back and play so I was really happy. It was my birthday and I got a great ovation from the fans, so it was unforgettable for me.”

Abou knows there is more to come – from him and the team. “It gives you confidence and when you feel fresh when you’re running you think, ‘OK, this feels fine.’ Now I look can look forward more to playing more games.”

He sees the FA Cup Final win in May as a turning point for the Club. “Now we have all realised we can achieve something. In the past, we’ve played very good football without winning anything. I think it’s going to be something new for the Club from now, a new start. We’ve realised that we can lift a trophy and when you do that once, you want more.”

And even in his darkest moments, he never lost his love for the game. “My mentality comes from my desire, my motivation to fight when you have bad moments – that is the same. It’s been difficult but if I had lost the love for football, I wouldn’t be here now. The reason I am still here, still working, is because I love football. I will keep trying my best because I’m still young so I can still look forward.”

Abou was speaking exclusively to the Official Arsenal Magazine, available to subscribe online or by calling 0845 301 7626.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source 11 Mar 2013