Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hails strength of Abou Diaby ahead of return

Abou Diaby:
Image: Abou Diaby: Will start against Southampton on Tuesday

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed the strength of character in Abou Diaby following his latest comeback from serious injury.

The 28-year-old France midfielder has been dogged with injuries his entire career and has made just 41 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners over the last four seasons.

He most recently tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, leaving him sidelined for over a year, and made his comeback on the final day of last season.

Diaby is set to make his first appearance of the current campaign in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup clash at home to Southampton and Wenger said: “He deserves a lot of respect.

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"He is a giant, mentally, to do what he has done. With the severe injuries he has had, he comes back every time and is dedicated.

"Diaby played 90 minutes at Villa Park for the under-21s last week. He was with us at Villa Park again on Saturday and he will play against Southampton on Tuesday.

"I am a huge believer in his quality and I am sad that he couldn't show it more. If there is some justice, the future will be much better for him."

Wenger also confirmed youngsters Hector Bellerin, Isaac Hayden, Chuba Akpom and Semi Ajayi will all be given a chance to impress against the Saints.

"We still have a team of experienced players and we want to do well in this competition," he said

"I believe this is an opportunity to give a game to players who need it. We go into a period where we play, and play, and play, and we want to continue to win our games."

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