The 33-year-old missed the majority of last season through injury as he suffered a calf problem during the UEFA Champions League group stage fixture against Borussia Dortmund back in November and then underwent surgery on his ankle in the New Year.
He returned to training towards the end of the campaign but has since seen his place in midfield go to Francis Coquelin and the Frenchman has produced a string of consistent displays playing just in front of the back four, meaning Arteta is no longer a guaranteed starter under manager Arsene Wenger.
The Spaniard has made two substitute appearances in the Barclays Premier League this season against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United to help the Gunners see out victories and he says he’s happy to put the nightmare spell on the sidelines behind him:
“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,” the experienced midfielder told the club’s official website.
“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.”
“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 added.
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