Mikel Arteta is relieved to be back in the Arsenal squad because it makes him "feel productive” again.
The club captain only made 12 appearances last season due to calf problems, followed by surgery on his ankle at the turn of the year.
Arteta has since returned to full fitness and is happy to be fighting for his place once more.
"I’m here because I want to play games, make this team more successful and be a part of it. When I’m not able to do that I still have to contribute"
“I really missed it [when I was out],” he told Arsenal Player. “I had a really tough period last year after my last game in November and I went through some really difficult moments with my surgery.
“For me it is the frustration [that is the hardest thing] because there is always pain and you are trying to get back everyday and you spend a lot of time doing rehabilitation.
“When the players go outside for a training session, you feel wasted. They come back, they travel, they have different times to you and you don’t spend much time with them. Personally I don’t feel productive.
“I’m here because I want to play games, make this team more successful and be a part of it. When I’m not able to do that I still have to contribute, be positive, be good around the other players, give advice and try to help my team-mates. But it is not the same.
“But I worked really hard and tried to stay positive, do my best and here I am again now, earning my place in the squad and ready to help the team.”
Arteta has made three substitute appearances this season, and has learnt a lot from studying games from the bench.
“I just watch the game and things come to my head naturally - things that I believe we can do better or things we are having trouble with, weaknesses of the other team or if we are having a few problems,” he said.
“You are excited but nervous as you don’t know when you are going to get thrown in. When you get thrown in you want to be ready for it with a good warm-up and ready to make an impact to help the team achieve the win.”
Copyright 2024 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.