By Giuseppe Muro

Johan Djourou admits he did not want to watch football during his prolonged spell on the sidelines.

The Swiss central defender missed virtually the whole of last season with a knee problem after requiring surgery to cure a complicated injury.

He has since returned to full strength and has been one of Arsenal's stand-out performers this season but confesses he struggled to watch his team-mates in action during his recovery.

"For me I took a break sometimes," he said. "Because when you're watching games you just think 'I wish I was playing' and it's not really good for your head. Sometimes I was watching it but not all the time.

"It was a nightmare. I mean for a footballer, for anyone that loves what they're doing, to be unable to do the thing you love is just a handicap.

"That's the sort of thing you realise, how lucky you are to be living your profession. Because as a professional that's the thing you love and it makes you realise that when you're out it is difficult and how fortunate you are to be playing the game."

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26 Feb 2011