Fit-again Podolski thrilled with Arsenal return

The German international missed four months of football after tearing his hamstring against Fenerbahce in August, but came off the bench to score in their London derby success over West Ham on Boxing Day.

"When you are out for a long time it is not easy, but I'm happy to be back," Podolski told the Daily Mail.

"I've never had muscle problems before so it was a new experience and not easy.

"I worked hard and I trained hard. When you sit on the bench or in the stadium or on the couch at home it is not easy to watch. You don't have the feeling with the team and in the dressing room, but that is the way it is in football, so I am all the more happy to be back.

"It took a long time. Every morning you come in, you have treatment, you work to get fit while the others are working outside. It is not easy for the head. But this is the way it is and I am young enough to play a lot of matches."

Podolski is a big chance to earn his first start since his injury when Arsene Wenger's men head north to tackle Newcastle at St James' Park on Sunday, given the loss of Aaron Ramsey to a thigh injury and the form of Olivier Giroud.

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