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The 26-year-old midfielder has been in fine form for the Gunners after returning from the sidelines and has credited the Dutch striker's impact on his rehabilitation

Midfielder Abou Diaby has revealed he took inspiration from former Arsenal star and team-mate Robin van Persie during his own personal injury nightmare and now feels he can drive Arsene Wenger's men to success.

The dynamic 26-year-old Frenchman revealed he was close to quitting the game after suffering 18 injuries since a horrific ankle break six years ago, but said the example set by Van Persie allowed him to overcome the doubts and return to the Arsenal starting XI.

"Robin [van Persie] helped me last season," he told the Sunday Mirror.

"We used to talk about my situation and what he had been through, and he would give me some advice.

"He would tell me to keep going and make sure I completed my treatment. It was ­helpful because he had the same experience as well.

"He got over his injuries, kept going and at the end he became one of the best players in the world. It shows me what can be done and it gives me inspiration."

After breaking his ankle following a challenge by Sunderland defender Dan Smith in 2006, Diaby's injury woes left him doubting whether he would ever play football again.

"Four years ago I did think about giving up and that I would never come back," he said.

"It was getting too much. I was not ­enjoying myself and I could not see the point to ­continue. I didn't speak to the manager about it, I kept it to myself."

Diaby also revealed that the shame caused him to lie to fans about his comeback date: "When things were bad I was embarrassed.

"Instead of telling [fans] the truth I'd always just say 'I don’t know', even if I knew it would be a long time."

However, now he is fit and firing on all cylinders, the Frenchman is hoping for a strong campaign with the Gunners, and wants to repay Arsene Wenger's faith in sticking by him.

"Last year was hard, but now I've had a good pre-season, I've done my rehabilitation for four weeks and I feel very confident in my body," he continued.

"I need to play 40 games this season to build my own confidence in myself.

"If I had been at another club, I would probably have been cast aside. I wouldn't have this chance and I want to repay the ­manager's faith in me."

The midfielder now has success in his sights - with the first challenge being against Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday afternoon: "People forget I am still young. I am 26 and I am going to reach my peak soon.

He added: "I want to win the Premier League and the Champions League with Arsenal.”

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