By Chris Harris

Mikael Silvestre reported no ill-effects after making his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt on Monday night.

The French international was hampered by a muscular strain after arriving from Manchester United in August and, since recovering, has been an unused substitute in three successive first-team games.

In an effort to regain his match sharpness and push for a first-team place, Silvestre completed a full 90 minutes against Stoke City at Underhill. The 31-year-old looked calm and composed as Neil Banfield's side earned a 3-2 victory.

"I feel good," declared Silvestre afterwards. "I got through the 90 minutes without any discomfort or pain and physically I felt at the same level as my team-mates so it felt good.

"The boss [Arsène Wenger] asked me if I wanted to play because it was a long time since I last played competitively, back in August or July with United. Before I get back with the first team it was good for me to play and get something other than training.

"It was a perfect run-out before playing with the first team. It is a good level in the Reserve League and getting to know my young team-mates was a good experience.

"It is not a surprise [to see how good the young players are] because most of the first team are 20, 21-year-olds so the quality is always there. I expected the same quality in the Reserves and most of them train with the first team so I knew them already.

"It is the way the Club is set up," added Silvestre. "Everything is done to play good attacking football so the players enjoy it and you just have to make sure you give 100 per cent in the challenge because if you don’t get the ball you can't play the nice football."

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
7 Oct 2008