Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky is ready to put his injury nightmare behind him as he prepares for an autumn return.
The 28-year-old has not played for the Gunners for 18 months initially due to a hamstring injury that then affected his knee tendons.
The problem failed to improve despite surgery and the Czech Republic international only started light training towards the back end of last season.
The former Borussia Dortmund ace insists he could have returned to action for the final few games but after numerous failed comebacks it is understandable why manager Arsene Wenger opted on the side of caution.
"I think I will be back in the autumn," he told Sport.
"According to my fitness coach Tony Colbert I could have been playing at the end of (last) season as he thought my fitness was okay.
"I think it was obvious from the training that I was ready to play, if not for 90 minutes.
"But the club decided not to play me. They saw that I was okay, but maybe they just did not want to take the gamble.
"Until I play in a league match I will not be able to tell what my chances are, but when it comes to fitness alone I am in better shape than when I came to Arsenal."
Competition for places
Despite having been out for so long, Rosicky is confident he can push the likes of Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri for a place in the starting XI.
"I am missing the competition," he added.
"Playing along Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott makes you feel comfortable and I think that I will quickly forget that I have been out for a while.
"Now that I have recovered, I am a new option for the manager. We have a strong team capable of moving mountains in all competitions."