Mathieu Debuchy has admitted he feels guilty about his inability to help Arsenal succeed during his first season at the club after two freak injuries ruled him out for more than six months.
Debuchy made just seven starts for the club, if you include Arsenal’s Community shield win in August, before badly spraining ankle ligaments in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
After surgery and rehabilitation kept him out until December, Debuchy could then only make seven more appearances until he was pushed into advertising hoardings whilst challenging for a header against Stoke.
He dislocated his shoulder and has been on the sidelines since but is finally ready to make his return to action.
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But in an exclusive interview with L’Equipe, Debuchy said his fitness troubles have caused him to feel like he’d let the club down.
“I just need to find my rhythm and feeling. It’s never easy having two operations in the same season. I’m not 100%, but not far off,” said Debuchy.
“It’s annoying to arrive at a new club and be injured. I made a good start, felt well and then have had two injuries.
“Inevitably, in your head, you’re not feeling great, you feel guilty. When a club signs you they’re counting on you and in return, I’ve not brought anything.”
“After the World Cup, it’s true that I needed a break. Three weeks of holiday goes quickly. It’s possible my first injury was related to fatigue, but I don’t know.
“It’s not easy being in the stands or watching TV. It was hard, but I made the effort to go to the stadium and to the dressing room after the game.
“It is important to show our face. I could have made my recovery in France or elsewhere, but I chose to stay at Arsenal.”
The Frenchman returns to the first-team squad at the best possible time of the season, with Arsenal looking to balance their battle for Champions League places with a second successive FA Cup win.