By Chris Harris
Sol Campbell feels "revitalised" and believes he can play at the top level for two or three more years.
Talks are ongoing with the 35-year-old to secure a permanent deal with Arsenal after he turned out for the Reserves at West Ham on Tuesday night and, although Campbell has not played Premier League football since last May, he is convinced he can re-live former glories if he is given the chance.
The former England defender spent the best years of his career at Highbury, winning five major trophies after crossing north London in the summer of 2001. Campbell left Arsenal in May 2006 but went on to win the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008 before a brief spell at Notts County at the start of this season.
His experience at Meadow Lane prompted many to write off the centre-back as a fading force but Campbell's hard work on the training pitches at London Colney since September appears to have paid off. Paolo Maldini played for AC Milan until he was 40 and Campbell wants to follow in the Italian's footsteps.
"If I keep training like this then I can play for two or three years of real good quality," he insisted. "Maldini is an inspiration and I think if you look after yourself and you've got the determination, for me that is important.
"Being out of the game really helped me out in the sense that it revitalised me. I am fresh and raring to go. I've got the hunger, it's a craving really, a craving for the ball and for me I need that. Being out has given me a chance to reflect but it has been frustrating as well, not being able to play.
"Given a chance I can play now and I am desperate to play and who knows? I will keep on going from there.
"I feel fitter than I did at the start of the season [with Notts County]. I have really applied myself and [fitness coach] Tony Colbert at Arsenal and all the staff, they have done wonders with me. The hard work was getting to this position but I think if it all goes well and I sign, the real work starts after that.Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source