Out since November, Santi Cazorla is finally nearing a return and he couldn’t be more relieved.
The Spanish midfielder started each of Arsenal’s opening 14 Premier League games of the season and five consecutive Champions League games before suffering a knee injury against Norwich City.
Due to an Achilles injury when stepping up his return, the issue has kept him out of first team training until last weekend, when he was back with his teammates. With five Premier League games remaining, Cazorla will be desperate to get back out on the pitch to prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2016.
“I’m happy to be nearing a return to the team,” Cazorla said in an interview with Arsenal Player. “Obviously it’s been difficult for me to be out for a long period of time.
“I still have a little way to go until I’m back to my best and can play with the team. I’m training with them now so I can return as soon as possible.”
Despite winning five of the first six games the midfielder wasn’t available for, Arsenal have slipped up over and over again since the start of the year and it’s proved costly. Out of the title race and scrambling for a Champions League place, pressure is on the Gunners and a negative atmosphere surrounds the Emirates Stadium.
Nonetheless, Cazorla is eager to be back on the pitch.
“I hate not playing. I need the daily routine of football so when I can’t do that I don’t enjoy it.
“I also had another problem on top of my knee injury, which was the original issue. During the recovery phase I started feeling some pain in my Achilles and that was something nobody was expecting.
“Everything was going well and my recovery was even ahead of schedule, but sadly it all went wrong on my second day running outside with the fitness coach. I started to feel a really sharp pain in my Achilles and that’s why it’s been five months.
“It’s been tough because it was an unexpected blow and that always makes it harder to take. It was something even worse I had to take in but these things happen in football and I hope I can recover as quickly as possible because I’m dying to play again.”
Cazorla isn’t expected to feature against West Bromwich Albion on Thursday evening but could be back soon.
Unlike Jack Wilshere, Arsène Wenger doesn’t intend to use u21 games to ease the Spaniard back into contention so we could see him back on the field in the near future.