Arsenal's forgotten man is back from injury and ready to make an impact at club-level.
"It was a great feeling because I had been waiting for that moment for so long," said a reflective Abou Diaby via an official Arsenal newsletter recently, on his return to first-team duty at the tail-end of last season following an entire campaign spent injured - first with an anterior cruciate ligament issue suffered in March, 2013, before a pelvis/groin problem four months ago.
Diaby spoke of "bad moments" but has "worked hard" on his rehabilitation to come back to the extent where he is now enjoying a full-on pre-season with the senior squad currently committed to a brief tour of the USA which culminates with a match against New York Red Bulls tomorrow.
"It was my birthday and I got a great ovation from the fans, so it was unforgettable for me," he said, of his cameo appearance against Norwich City last term.
He continued: "It gives you confidence and when you feel fresh when you're running you think, 'OK, this feels fine.' Now I look can look forward more to playing more games."
Arsenal's objective this season is to build on the cup-winning momentum from last season, where Arsene Wenger navigated a way to FA Cup glory. The club have adopted a hands-on approach to the summer market having already acquired Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, the imminent completion of David Ospina on the horizon and potential deals for a defensive midfielder also looming.
"Now we have all realised we can achieve something," he said of the FA Cup success. "In the past, we've played very good football without winning anything. I think it's going to be something new for the club from now, a new start.
"We've realised that we can lift a trophy and when you do that once, you want more."
|2013-14 Premier League||Club||Touch / app||Pass / app||Pass acc||Chance Created / app||Assist||Goal||Tackle / app||Duel Won / app||Apps||Mins|
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|2011-12 Premier League||Club||Touch / app||Pass / apps||Pass acc||Chance Created / app||Assist||Goal||Tackle / app||Duel Won / app||Apps||Mins|
In the past three seasons Diaby has not even broken the barrier of 1,000 minutes of Premier League game-time, something that would take a regular just a dozen matches to achieve, however, the Frenchman feels that he is over his "bad moments" and is ready to break-out in the coming year.
"My mentality comes from my desire, my motivation to fight when you have bad moments - that is the same.
"It's been difficult but if I had lost the love for football, I wouldn't be here now. The reason I am still here, still working, is because I love football. I will keep trying my best because I'm still young so I can still look forward."
Diaby will likely feature against former team-mate Thierry Henry's Red Bulls team on Saturday.