Djourou 'ready to step up'
Gunners defender hopeful of key role in new season
By James Dall. Last Updated: July 24, 2009 11:14am
Djourou: Key season
Johan Djourou is hopeful the 2009/10 campaign will be the season he makes a name for himself at Arsenal.
The 22-year-old Switzerland international has progressed with the Gunners since joining the club from Etoile Carouge in 2002.
Last season the centre-back made 29 appearances in all competitions and he is hopeful the new term could prove to be his breakthrough campaign.
While Djourou is aware he faces stern competition in earning a starting berth, he is focused on giving manager Arsene Wenger a selection headache.
He told the club's official website. "I am ready now, I am ready to step up and I have shown that in the last year. Now I just need to stay fit and show the boss that I am ready to play in the team all season.
"That's what I want to achieve this season because I really think that I have stepped up, I am strong and I can do the job in the centre of defence.
"Theo (Walcott) broke through last season but the centre-back position is always a bit difficult because I am only 22 and there is a lot of experience in the squad in that position. But I need to play to get that experience and I think I did that last season. Now I'm ready to go on from there.
"I think it is good that I am not so well known outside Arsenal. I am the guy who is working hard, the guy who wants to get where he wants to be. I have my belief, I know what I want and it doesn't bother me that I do not have a big reputation yet. I want to do my thing and be the best at Arsenal."
Djourou also offered his own assessment of new signing Thomas Vermaelen, who joined Arsenal from Ajax earlier this summer.
"He is a strong player and he has impressed me a lot," he said. "When the boss chooses a player he knows what he is doing and Thomas has shown his qualities already. He is a good player and he is a good guy to have in the team."