Denilson has welcomed the competition for places sparked by Cesc Fabregas' return to the first-team fold.

The captain made his first appearance since December 21 as Arsenal beat Manchester City 2-0 at the weekend and marked his comeback with two assists. Denilson and Alex Song also started against City but the Brazilian knows he has a fight on to keep his midfield berth with Fabregas back in action and Abou Diaby on the road to recovery.

Typically, the man who has made more appearances than any Arsenal player this season is not fazed by the challenge.

“It doesn’t only apply to me of course – the likes of Abou Diaby and Alex Song have that competition too," Denilson told the Official Matchday Programme.

"We don’t see it as a threat, we train hard and have been helping the squad as well as we can. We all apply ourselves the same way in training whether we’re playing or not – it doesn’t really matter.

"Cesc being back will help the team greatly – and as far as I’m concerned I’ll give 100 per cent whether I’m playing or not, and leave selection decisions to the boss.

“It’s great news [having the injured players back]”, he added. “We had established quite a strong team before the international break, but with people like Theo, Cesc and Ade the side can only become stronger. We’ll have these key players among us at an important time of the season and that’ll be fantastic.”

This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

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6 Apr 2009