Interview

Koscielny - ‘It was emotional… my smile is back’

Laurent Koscielny is back.

Our captain ended a wait of 225 days for a first-team game on Thursday when he led the team out against Qarabag in the Europa League.

It was a highly-charged, emotional moment for Laurent, a far cry from the agony of May 3 this year when his season - and World Cup - was ended by a ruptured Achilles.

That date is fixed in Laurent’s mind but now he’s looking forward after completing the long road back to recovery.

“Yes, it was an important day for me,” he told Arsenal.com. “It was the end of my rehab, so I am very happy to play today with my team, for this club, and to enjoy it with them on the pitch.

“It was very emotional because you remember the first day when I was injured, the 3rd of May, and now we are on the [13th] of December, and you have some flashbacks in your head about different periods you had during your rehab. 

“I met a lot of people who helped me a lot, and so I’m very proud to know them now. There were some difficult moments, during this period, but now I think I’m more calm and focused on what I want, and physically I’m OK.

“I’m proud of myself,” added the captain. “You know in rehab it’s difficult to be injured, because when you start rehab you have to re-learn how to walk, how to go step by step on the stairs, and it’s difficult at the beginning, because you look like you can’t be back on the pitch. 

“But with the people who worked with me and helped me every day, I gave 100 per cent to be back every day and to progress every day. Then when I came back here [to Arsenal] everyone pushed me hard to work. It’s OK - I like to work! So I gave more for this and now I have the result for all the effort I made over seven months.

“It’s been difficult but you learn a lot about yourself, about the people you have around you. Now it’s the end of my rehab - I have my smile back and I will enjoy it with my club. I will start my season now.”

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