Abou Diaby is out to make up for lost time by driving Arsenal towards Barclays Premier League success.
The 26-year-old has impressed at the heart of the Gunners midfield during their first unbeaten three matches of the new campaign, having seen his progress during the 2011-12 season blighted by injury problems.
France international Diaby is now eager to gain as much playing time as possible, and told Le Parisien: "I had some very difficult moments, some days when I was depressed when it was tough, but even then, I always kept faith. I always told myself that some people were in a worse position than me."
He added: "I am 26 and I am aware that I am at a key moment in my career, that is why it was so important that I came back this season.
"Now, I am careful about every detail, I leave nothing to chance. I am much more mature. I also had a full pre-season for the first time in ages.
"It is such an important season for me that I am working harder than ever to succeed.
"I want to prove to myself that I can go higher.
"I am getting to an age and to a time in my career where I need to show what I can do on the pitch in the long term."