Thomas Vermaelen's ongoing injury problems show no sign of abating, the Arsenal defender has candidly revealed.
The 25-year-old has not featured for Arsenal since the end of August after continuous setbacks from an Achilles injury picked up on international duty.
Vermaelen's absence has been a significant blow for the Gunners in their pursuit of a first trophy since 2005, and the Belgian has now admitted he has no idea when his recovery will be complete.
"I feel no trouble in the Achilles tendon itself, but the muscles around it still need to be made stronger," he told Belgium newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. "I do not know when I will be back.
"At first they said I would need four or six weeks after the operation. But it soon became apparent that it would last longer. I'm not even in training. I'm still working on my exercises to come back. This is a tough mental test.
"I relapsed six times. That was hard. Every time I had a goal to come back, but that was then broken again and again.
"I am now cautious. It is frustrating that I cannot play. I had never been injured for so long. On some days it's mentally very tough but I see this as a test. Perhaps it is also good for my career and it will make me stronger mentally."
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