Abou Diaby says that he found it hard to cope with the litany of injuries that so affected his career, especially when he had to watch teammates play and train.
The French midfielder suffered countless problems throughout the course of his Arsenal career, all stemming from that horrendous tackle by Dan Smith, and the difficulty of not being able to play was made worse by seeing what he was missing out on.
“Going into the training ground every day, it was killing me,” he told the Daily Mail.
“When you spend all your time with the physio and you see your team-mates enjoying everything, it is very hard.
“I had to get out and do rehab elsewhere. I didn’t feel comfortable being injured at the club all the time. The funny thing is that at Arsenal, when you are in the physio room at the training ground, you can actually see the first-team training sessions through the window.
“That made life even in tougher.”
Even good wishes from fans became hard to deal with.
“I couldn’t sit there every game in the stands and watch,” he said. “I just wanted to play so much. Every time fans spoke to me, it was, “When are you back?”, “How long will it be?”
Anyone who has played, or still plays, football knows how rotten it is not being able to turn out for your team. Whatever level you play at, you just want to get out on that pitch.
For most people there’d be some bitterness, but Diaby doesn’t carry any of that.
“Really, there is no resentment any more,” he said. “I left it behind a long time ago. The only thing I wish is that it had happened later in my career. If it happened when I was 28, things might have been different.
“Between 19 and 27, I would have had time to progress, play every week and be the player I should have been.”
The whole interview is well worth a read. Although our policy in general is not to link to the Daily Mail, this is a good piece. Well leave it up to you.