by Giuseppe Muro

Johan Djourou wants to finally establish himself in the first-team and prove his qualities after spending much of his Arsenal career on the treatment table.

The Swiss defender missed virtually the whole of the last campaign with a knee injury and is yet to find full fitness this season.

Summer acquisitions Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny have earned plaudits after solid displays against Bolton and Braga, while Thomas Vermaelen has emerged as a leader at the back following his superb debut season in England.

Djourou completes a quartet of talented centre backs but he knows he has to get fit and, more importantly, stay fit before he can make his own contribution.

“It’s not easy,” Djourou told Arsenal TV Online’s ‘Spotlight’ programme. “I know what I can do and I proved it the season before last when I wasn’t injured.

“It’s frustrating because you want to play when you’re still young. When you’re 20 or 21 you want to play as much as possible - now I’m 23 and that hasn’t changed. I still want to play and the thing is now I have to stay fit to be able to do that.

“I’ve always had big competition in my position. I had a good run, I played 30 games in a season which was great, but then I’ve had injuries that always stop me.

“You have to stay strong. If I didn’t have the ability I wouldn’t be here. I’m coming back from a long-term injury - I know myself and I know that I will push through. To do that I have to train hard.”

Johan was speaking to Arsenal TV Online's 'Spotlight' programme. Subscribers can see this exclusive interview from 8pm (UK time) on Friday as part of our Friday Night Live line up.

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16 Sep 2010