Santi Cazorla: I can still improve
Published 10/10/2012 | 15:23
Santi Cazorla feels Arsenal have not seen the best of him yet.
The Spain midfielder has impressed since his £15million summer move from Malaga, and cracked in a superb 25-yard goal in the 3-1 win at West Ham.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger believes the 27-year-old helps inspire the side with his cavalier style.
Cazorla is happy with the way he has adapted so quickly, and hopes he will continue to enjoy life at Emirates Stadium.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Spain's World Cup qualifier away to Belarus, the midfielder said: "I have adapted well and my position within the Arsenal team gives me freedom.
"Maybe in the few months I have been there people have been talking a lot more about me.
"I feel important at Arsenal and I want to keep developing. I hope to continue to grow and improve in the future."
Wenger certainly has plenty of options in midfield, with Abou Diaby hopeful of a return after the international break following his latest muscular injury.
England international Jack Wilshere is also close to a comeback.
The 20-year-old has been out for more than a year with a combination of ankle and knee problems but came through another run-out for the under-21s against Reading earlier this week as he closes in on a return to first-team action.
Wenger has urged caution over Wilshere's rehabilitation, but captain Thomas Vermaelen is in no doubt what an asset the youngster will be when fully match-fit.
"For me, he can be one of the best midfielders in the world. He has the potential for that," Vermaelen told Arsenal Player.
"He looks much stronger and that's good.
"I am really happy he is coming back now. Jack is working on his match-fitness and that is the most important thing. I think in the future [he] will lift the team."
Arsenal recovered from the disappointment of a home defeat by Premier League leaders Chelsea to go into the international break on the back of a battling 3-1 win at West Ham which leaves them in touch with the chasing pack.
Vermaelen said: "The mentality of the group is really good.
"Everybody wants to work and win games, are really ambitious and you can see on the pitch everybody wants to fight for each other."
Most of Arsene Wenger's first-team squad will be away on international duty, although defender Kieran Gibbs pulled out of the England squad after suffering a minor thigh problem at Upton Park.
Full-back Bacary Sagna was another who made his return to action, playing for an hour against the Reading under-21s at Barnet.
The France international suffered a fractured leg against Norwich in May, the second such injury in the space of a year and one which ruled him out of Euro 2012.
After coming through an hour, Sagna is ready to step up his rehabilitation.
"When you have such a big injury once, you take it, but twice is hard," he said.
"In my mind I was a bit sad, but the next day I was ready for the challenge, which was to come back stronger and I am in a good way today.
"I spent some time in the rehab centre, then I came back and worked really hard with the fitness coach and the physios to be ready to play - and finally I have.
"I don't have any target - my only aim is to be ready and bring what I can to my team, to give 100%, like always."
Sagna - who has yet to agree a contract extension and has been linked with a January move to Inter Milan - feels the Gunners can mount a sustained challenge.
He said: "We have been solid. I think we can win the league - we have to take it step by step, but we have the quality necessary to play until the end of the season and win."
Meanwhile, Arsenal today announced 17-year-old forward Chuba Akpom has signed professional terms.
England youth international Akpom scored in the under-21s' win over Reading.