Arsenal star determined to keep his place after Wembley comeback against Reading
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Arsenal’s Mathieu Debuchy aims to stay in the side for the remainder of the campaign following his latest injury comeback at Wembley on Saturday.
Debuchy’s first season with the Gunners since his £10m switch from Newcastle has been blighted by injury, with two separate three-month absences restricting him to just 14 appearances.
And now the French right-back, who completed the full 120 minutes as the FA Cup holders held off Reading 2-1 after extra time, is determined to keep his place between now and the end of May – when Arsenal will return to Wembley to defend the trophy against Aston Villa.
“It was good to be back on the pitch but it was hard for me,” said Debuchy. “It’s been difficult, two times in the same season.
“Three months before and three months again – it was the second time I had surgery this season, but now it’s behind me and I’m so happy to be playing [again] for Arsenal.
“Now I’m ok and I want to play a lot, to help the team, and I’m focused on the end of the season. I’m strong in my head now.
“I need to work hard and train again and again but I hope to be ready, to be 100 per cent soon. I need to play some games and I hope to play the rest of the season.”
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Signed to replace his international colleague Bacary Sagna last summer, Debuchy slotted straight into the Arsenal side but then picked up a knee injury in their 2-2 draw with Manchester City in September.
After returning to fitness three months later, the Frenchman was drafted into central defence to counter an injury crisis and performed well there, scoring his first Gunners goal in another 2-2 draw, against Liverpool at Anfield.
But he was back on the treatment table the following month thanks to a shoulder injury sustained after a clash with Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic at the Emirates.
In Debuchy’s absence, Arsenal youngster Hector Bellerin has blossomed at right-back, making the spot his own until last weekend, when the more experienced man was recalled.
The 29-year-old welcomes the added competition brought by Bellerin’s emergence – although, naturally, he intends to make sure of getting the nod when the Gunners do battle with Villa in May.
“Hector has played very well,” added Debuchy. “He’s a very good player and I’m so happy for him. It’s so important for big teams that we have two or three players for the same position.
“It was so important for us, for the club, to get to the final and we did it – now we are focused on the final. We want to win it like last year, but the final is never easy.”