Former Arsenal prospect Gedion Zelalem has opened up on the injury woes that sidelined him for more than 400 days.
And the midfielder, who is now playing for Den Bosch , believes he would have made a full breakthrough with the Gunners had he not ruptured his ACL.
In an interview with the Athletic, Zelalem said it was “hard to take” as he struggled to make a full recovery from the injury and he was nowhere his best fitness level for “two or three years.”
But the 27-year-old says he now feels like himself again as he seeks to keep Den Bosch in the second tier of Dutch football.
“I still think if I hadn’t got my anterior cruciate ligament injury, things would have gone differently at Arsenal, even though I had stagnated and gone out on loan,” Zelalem said.
“I was out for six months, but then I needed another surgery and was out for over 400 days. The worst part was I was nowhere near myself for two or three years.
“Not being as nimble as I was was hard to take because I was always one of the best players on my team. To go from that to not being that guy was really difficult.
“I never got rhythm and playing time, so I could never truly get match fit. On the outside looking in, people may not have seen much of a difference, but as a player you know your body and how you used to play.
“It’s only been in the last two years that I’ve truly felt like myself again.”
Zelalem, who was born in Germany, arrived at Arsenal as a teenager after being spotted by scouts while playing in the United States. He was compared to Cesc Fabregas in terms of playing style and Arsene Wenger brought him on a first-team pre-season tour of Asia in 2013.
He made his senior debut as a substitute in an FA Cup game against Coventry City in January 2014, a couple ofRead on m.allfootballapp.com