Jack Wilshere says the prospect of featuring in a cup final played an integral role in helping him overcome the dark days of his recent injury.
Sidelined for over 5 months following surgery on his ankle the England international also underlined how desperate he is to feature at Wembley again.
Last year the midfielder came off the bench in extra-time to play the final 15 minutes of the Gunners’ 3-2 victory over Hull City.
“When you’re injured you’re having those dark, lonely days in the gym when all the players are training.
“When you come back and you get to major finals and you can win major trophies, that definitely is something that keeps you going.
“I’ve been injured for a long time this season. I’ve worked hard. All I want to do at the minute is play football.
“I really want to play. It’s probably the biggest game of the season. I’ve been injured for a lot of the season so it’s been frustrating and I’ve worked really hard to come back.
“I feel really good. Of course it’s down to the manager but hopefully I will play.”
Wilshere played the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s final two league games of the season but could well miss out on a starting berth if Arsene Wenger returns to the Coquelin, Ramsey, Cazorla triumvirate that featured in the preceding six matches.
After scoring a hattrick at the weekend, Theo Walcott is also looking forward to making an impact at Wembley.
Speaking to the Evening Standard he shed light on the squad’s build up to the big day, revealing all the players watched a video documenting Arsenal’s pedigree in the FA Cup at the bequest of club captain Mikel Arteta.
“We had a nice little video and Mikel [Arteta] stood up and said a few words to the players who weren’t involved last year in the FA Cup, the foreign guys.
“Just showing the video shows how passionate the club are and it being the 19th occasion [Arsenal in a final] as well and potentially the 12th win is a great achievement. Those words were very strong.”
He continued: “It [the FA Cup] always will be special, not just to me but all the players.
“People say the love has gone for the FA Cup… not at all. For me, not being involved last year hurt so this year you want to take every opportunity you can.
“You want to be in those history books. You want to be remembered for the way you played and a winning team.
“Every single player, me included, will be putting in 110 per cent in this game because it means a lot to us and the fans.”