Former Arsenal star Nico Yennaris posted an emotional message thanking Mikel Arteta and the Gunners for their recent support.
Yennaris joined the Arsenal academy back in May 2001 when he was just seven, and signed his first professional contract there nine years later.
The defensive midfielder went on to make his first-team debut in the League Cup fourth round in 2010, playing the full 90 minutes as the Gunners beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1.
However, after subsequent loan spells at Notts County and Bournemouth, Yennaris departed Arsenal in 2014 having made just four senior appearances for the club.
Despite limited first-team action in a 13-year association with the Gunners, the club have recently provided support to Yennaris as he recovers from injury.
Yennaris’s injury problems
In November 2021 Yennaris, who now plies his trade at Beijing Guoan, was forced to undergo two surgeries on an ankle injury.
The defensive midfielder subsequently underwent a third surgery in July 2022 and five months later, returned to outdoor training at the Arsenal Training Centre.
Yennaris has now taken to social media to express his appreciation to Arsenal for the role they played in his recovery.
On Instagram, the 29-year-old wrote: “The last 18 months have been incredibly tough and have challenged me in ways I’ve not experienced before.
“It’s felt unbelievable to have the support of Arsenal.
“I’ll forever be grateful to the club for what you have done over the last 18 months after my 3 surgeries to get me back fit and on the pitch to continue my playing career.
“There’s a lot of thank yous to everyone at Arsenal for opening up the training ground and working with me day to day as one of your own. In particular big thanks to Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Jack Wilshere, Mehmet Ali, & Ges Steinbergs along with the rest of the medical team.
“Special mention to Nav Singh I’ve known you for 10+ years and you’ve looked after me like a brother these last 18 months. Gone above and beyond for me pushing me when it was toughest. Thank you isn’t enough.
“Now the hard work continues back in China. Ready for the 2023 Super League.”
Since 2019 Yennaris has gone by the name Li Ke in his professional career after being naturalised as a Chinese citizen.