In late July, in the early part of Arsenal’s pre-season Conor Henderson came on late in the game against Cologne (featuring Podolski!). A couple of minutes and one unfortunate slip later his season was over as he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Now, having recently made his comeback for the reserves against Newcastle, the Republic of Ireland youngster is keen to put the frustration behind him and find first team football.
Speaking to this month’s Arsenal Magazine, Henderson said, “For the remainder of the season my main aim is to just get match fit and play as many games as I can.
“I would like to go away with the first team for pre-season again and hopefully it will be a bit more successful than last time! I was just breaking into the team so it (the injury) was a massive blow.”
And while his ambition is still a place in the Arsenal team, he knows that spending time out on loan might give him a better chance of first team football whilst aiding his development.
“I have a lot of friends out on loan at the moment and they have all said it’s a good experience. Playing men’s football and having to win games is what it’s all about, but I’d love to get into the manager’s plans here.
“I see myself as a central midfielder but I am comfortable on the left or the right – anywhere to get into this Arsenal team.”
And while there’s been a lot of focus on the negative side of social media and player interaction, Henderson says he was boosted by the messages of support he received from Arsenal fans.
“I received support from everywhere, evertone has been very helpful, even on Twitter. It is nice because when you are injured you do have down days, and if you get a Tweet from someone saying ‘You’re a great player, hope you come back soon’, it can make a big difference.
“I feel very privileged and humbled by the support I’ve received.”
You can read the full interview with Conor Henderson, in which he talks about how Arsene Wenger lifted his spirits, his friendship with Benik Afobe and much more, in the May issue of the Official Arsenal Magazine. out now priced at £3.25. Visit here or call 0845 301 7626 (+44 845 301 7626) to subscribe.