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Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny on his 'emotional' return

PUBLISHED: 23:30 13 December 2018 | UPDATED: 23:30 13 December 2018

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny during the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PA

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny during the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny made an emotional return to first team action after seven months out with a ruptured achilles.

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny during the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PAArsenal's Laurent Koscielny during the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PA

The Gunners leader ended a wait of 225 days for a first-team match game on Thursday when he led the team during a 1-0 victory over Qarabag in the Europa League.

It was a emotional moment for Laurent as he finally banished the memory of a terrible evening in Madrid when he suffered the serious injury agaisnt Atletico at a raucous Metrpolitano in early May.

Speaking after a goal from fellow Frenchman Alex Lacazette sealed the win over the Baku-based side the popular 33-year-old said: “Yes, it was an important day for me. It was the end of my rehab, so I am very happy to play today with my team, for this club, and to enjoy it with them on the pitch.

“It was very emotional because you remember the first day when I was injured, May 3, and now we are in December, and you have some flashbacks in your head about different periods you had during your rehab.

Arsenal's Team Photo (bottom row, left to right) Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny and Mesut Ozil. (Top row, left to right) Joe Willock, Damian Martinez, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Laurent Koscielny and Carl Jenkinson prior to the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PAArsenal's Team Photo (bottom row, left to right) Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny and Mesut Ozil. (Top row, left to right) Joe Willock, Damian Martinez, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Laurent Koscielny and Carl Jenkinson prior to the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PA

“I met a lot of people who helped me a lot, and so I’m very proud to know them now. There were some difficult moments, during this period, but now I think I’m more calm and focused on what I want, and physically I’m OK.

“I’m proud of myself,” added the captain. “You know in rehab it’s difficult to be injured, because when you start rehab you have to re-learn how to walk, how to go step by step on the stairs, and it’s difficult at the beginning, because you look like you can’t be back on the pitch.”

The draw for the knock-out stages of the Europa League is set for Monday lunchtime at UEFA headquarters in Nyon with hopes high that the club can improve on last season’s effort when they reached the semi-final.

With boss Emery a serial winner with Sevilla after he lifted the trophy three years in succession the club are aiming for silverware in Europe’s second tier competiton.

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny (centre) warms up prior to the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PAArsenal's Laurent Koscielny (centre) warms up prior to the UEFA Europa League, group E match at Emirates Stadium, London. PA

However, Koscielny was more concerned with thanking everyone who helped him on his long road back to fiull fitness.

Speaking to Arsenal.com he said: “[Thanks] to the people who worked with me and helped me every day,

“I gave 100 per cent to be back every day and to progress every day. Then when I came back here [to Arsenal] everyone pushed me hard to work. It’s OK - I like to work.

“So I gave more for this and now I have the result for all the effort I made over seven months.

Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny receives medical attention during the UEFA Europa League, Semi Final, Second Leg at Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid.Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny receives medical attention during the UEFA Europa League, Semi Final, Second Leg at Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid.

“It’s been difficult but you learn a lot about yourself, about the people you have around you. Now it’s the end of my rehab - I have my smile back and I will enjoy it with my club. I will start my season now.”

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