Abou Diaby has revealed he never gave up on returning to fitness for Arsenal despite living life in fear of injury last season.
The 26-year-old midfielder has made an impressive start to the campaign for the Gunners after seeing his progress blighted by injury problems in recent times.
The France international admits that at his lowest points his constant injury setbacks were playing on his mind.
Diaby told Le Parisien: "Last season, before the Fulham game, I was shaking on the bench because I was scared of getting injured again. It was incredible.
"All I wanted was to play again. I am born with a strong temper. I never give up. Maybe some people would have given up in my position, but it was out of the question for me.
"It was my destiny, it was written (to come back). I had to fight to put an end to all those injuries and to be able to express myself on a pitch again.
"I had some very difficult moments, some days when I was depressed when it was tough, but even then, I always kept faith.
"I always told myself that some people were in a worse position than me.
"I am 26 and I am aware that I am at a key moment in my career. That is why it was so important that I came back this season.
"Now, I am careful about every detail, I leave nothing to chance. I am much more mature. I also had a full pre-season for the first time in ages."
Diaby is determined to make up for lost time and prove he can be the driving force for Arsenal and France.
"It is such an important season for me that I am working harder than ever to succeed," he added.
"I want to prove to myself that I can go higher.
"I am getting to an age and to a time in my career where I need to show what I can do on the pitch in the long term."