ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN has paid a glowing tribute to former team-mate Abou Diaby after he was released by Arsenal following an injury hit career.
Diaby suffered a succession of injuries during his nine-year spell with the Gunners, making just 180 appearances.
But Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed his admiration for the French midfielder and bemoaned the bad luck he suffered.
He told Arsenal Player: “Abou’s a massive talent.
“He’s one of the best midfielders I’ve seen or even played with and, for a man of his stature and to be able to do some of the things he did with the ball, it was amazing to see at times.
“Unfortunately he had a really tough time with injuries and you’ve got to feel for him because he worked so hard. I’m sure a lot of players would have given up a long time before he has. He still hasn’t and he’s still working hard to get fit.
“A lot of players wouldn’t have been able to cope with the mental side and the disappointment of the injuries, so it just shows you what a professional he is and how much of a tough mentality he has.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain also spoke of his sadness that Diaby has left but hopes he can regain full fitness soon.
He added: “He’s a big character in our dressing room. Everyone respected him and his footballing ability that much that he was always part of the team at all times.
“It’s sad to see him go but I had a chat with him yesterday and the reasons why he wanted to leave and get himself right made complete sense to me. You’ve got to wish him all the luck with that and I hope that he can get back to his best and push on with whatever he does.
“He is one of the best players I’ve played with, you’ve just got to hope that he can stay fit.”

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