By Nick Teale
Nacer Barazite says his recent shoulder injury left him frustrated as he was forced to watch from the sidelines while some of his fellow Arsenal youngsters got first-team chances in the Champions League and FA Cup.
The Dutch youth international made his first Reserve-team appearance in four months against Stoke City last week, and scored eight minutes into his return.
It was the final step in his recovery from a lengthy spell in the sidelines. The midfielder's injury ruled him out of contention for Carling Cup clashes with Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as the Champions League trip to Olympiacos and the FA Cup trip to Stoke.
In each of those games a number of Reserve-team regulars were handed chances to shine in the first team. But for Nacer the matches only served to emphasise the pain of being stuck on the sidelines.
"I am delighted to be back and playing for Arsenal again after a couple of months out," he told Arsenal.com. "We won last week [at Stoke] and I scored, so I am very pleased to be back.
"It was very frustrating to be out because you are in the gym every day and you see your friends playing on the pitch and getting opportunities to play in the first team and doing very well. You want to be there with them and unfortunately I couldn’t be there but I have been working very hard and it paid off at Stoke.
"Working with the fitness coach and in the gym is totally different from playing on the pitch and you could see that today. I need to keep working and keep getting minutes on the pitch.
"But I haven’t thought about going on loan yet because I have been focused on getting my shoulder strong again. I have played last week and hopefully I'll keep playing for the Reserves, continuing at Chelsea [tonight]."Copyright 2017 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