Arshavin: It's punishment sat on bench at Arsenal | inside World Soccer

Andrei Arshavin has expressed his frustration with life on the substitutes bench during his final season with Arsenal.

Andrei Arshavin made 144 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 31 goals in five seasons
Andrei Arshavin made 144 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 31 goals in five seasons

Photo: Getty Images

The 32-year-old returned to former club Zenit Saint Petersburg on Thursday following the expiration of his Arsenal contract, just over four years after at £15 million becoming the Gunners' record signing.

Having made such a promising start to his Premier League career - including all four in a 4-4 thriller at Liverpool in April 2009 - he struggled for consistency and found himself out of favour for long periods.

"It was a punishment sat on the bench," Arshavin told Sport Express. "To train even though you know you won't play - it is psychologically difficult.

"I already knew I'd be leaving England in winter, because having to sit on the bench was like living in a labor camp.

"I nearly suffered depression, but I didn't because I'm mentally strong. The monotony of life there was crushing me."

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