Johan Djourou is determined to take his latest chance in the Arsenal first team.

The form of Kolo Toure and William Gallas kept the Swiss defender out of the side during February but he returned to the team for the back-to-back victories against West Brom and Burnley.

Djourou could stay in the starting line-up for the midweek trip to Roma - regardless of whether Toure recovers from a calf injury - and he won't relinquish his place without a fight.

"I am trying to take my chance," he told the Official Matchday Programme.

"I told myself at the start of the season that I have to work hard even if I’m not first choice because I’m still young, but I think I’ve shown to people that I’m ready for this.

"I played quite well when I was in the team more regularly so it’s now for me to step up and stay there. It’s always difficult not to be in the side, because you think you’re doing well and the team isn’t losing or conceding many goals. But as I say, I’m a young guy and still learning so I think that I can still do better."

Toure himself is a big fan of Djourou, so much so that the Ivorian recently described the Swiss youngster as "our Sol Campbell". Djourou is flattered by the comparison but is hoping to emulate a different international star.

"Sol was a fantastic player for us, but I think I can do a bit more in terms of being comfortable on the ball and going forward – I’d say the kind of player I could develop into is more like Marcel Desailly.

"But it’s very nice of Kolo to say that, of course, because Sol Campbell is just a legend! He has everything you need to be a top defender, and he was exactly that for this club. He’s got that aggression and tactical ability, is good in the air and is very strong."

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

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
9 Mar 2009