By Chris Harris
Abou Diaby won't be dwelling on his injury-hit past as he enjoys his renaissance as a Premier League star.
The France midfielder picked up the man of the match award for a towering display in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday as Arsène Wenger's midfield dominated at Anfield.
Diaby managed just 98 minutes of first-team action last season and has already exceeded that total this term. At 26 he has plenty of time to make his mark - and he insists he never gave up hope during his spell on the sidelines.
"Mentally it was a hard time but I love football," said Diaby. "Football is my passion so it doesn’t matter what happened, I need to look forward and that is what I have done in this situation.
"I am really happy to play again. When you play in these type of games [against Liverpool], it is really exciting and you need to be ready. I am really happy and I hope I can keep going in that way.
"The main thing is that I need to get my confidence back so I need to go in for challenges. We did that really well on Sunday."
Diaby reserved a special mention for Wenger, who has stuck by the France international throughout his fitness problems.
"I have to thank the manager because I have had tremendous support from him," said Diaby. "As a player it is really important to have that support and from your team-mates as well. I have to say that during this period, they helped a lot.
"The manager is known for being close to his players and he is always checking to look how they are. I had great support from him. I want to be back enjoying myself because I love football and I want to pay back the club, manager and team-mates as well."Copyright 2013 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 3 Sep 2012