By Chris Harris
Thomas Vermaelen has only been back for four games but he feels like he's never been away.
The Belgian defender missed two months of the season to cure a tendon problem and returned for the recent Carling Cup win over Bolton before coming off the bench at Chelsea and contributing to clean sheets against Marseille and West Brom.
Some players take time to find their sharpness after a lengthy lay-off but Vermaelen has had no trouble settling back into life in the first team.
"I feel fit and I had this as well last year," he told Arsenal Player. "I was out for eight months and I played the last two games of the season but I still felt quite well.
"I work hard when I'm injured, I do my work, and when I come back I feel physically strong and good enough to be on the pitch."
The return of Vermaelen and Sebastien Squillaci from injury has given Arsène Wenger five front-line centre backs to choose from with Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Johan Djourou also competing for a place.
"The boss now has a lot of choices in defence whereas in the past he had only a few," said Vermaelen.
"We have had injuries as well but now everybody is fit and there is a lot of competition. It can only be good for the team that the boss has a lot of options over which players are going to play."
The full interview with Thomas is now available on Arsenal Player.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 18 Nov 2011