Arsene Wenger sees Danny Welbeck emerging from torrid struggles at Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has seen indications Danny Welbeck can rediscover his best form for Arsenal and England.
Welbeck has suffered an injury nightmare over recent seasons having been struck down by two serious knee injuries – one to each leg – in 2015 and 2016.
The arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal this term means the former Manchester United man’s opportunities to play at centre-forward look likely to be limited, but he will have another chance in his favoured position in the Europa League against Ostersunds on Thursday.
“I want to keep him because I believe he has gone through a torrid time,” Wenger told reporters, with Welbeck out of contract at the end of next season.
“He has come out well. I see signs in training now that are positive. If he can stay on the pitch and not be injured, I want him to stay here.
“Even with a muscular injury you lose it [faith in your body] quickly. One of the advantages of being young is that you feel indestructible. It gives you an arrogance.
“Sometimes the players are very confident, very arrogant but as soon as they lose that belief in their body, suddenly you are lost and you don’t know any more what is going on.”
Welbeck completed 83 fairly uneventful minutes in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Ostersunds in the first leg of their round-of-32 tie but Wenger believes coming through a game on the Swedish side’s artificial pitch marked an important step for the 27-year-old.
“Ostersunds was a good test for him because you would think the player you don’t want to pick on an artificial pitch would be him because of his history,” he said.
“He came through well and I think for him, in his head, it was very important that he came out of that game without having any problems.”
If Welbeck can continue to progress, Wenger maintains he should not be discounted as an option for England at the World Cup in Russia.
“He might not be a goalscorer like Harry Kane for example, but for England he can perfectly play with Harry Kane because he plays on the flanks,” he added.
“There was a time when I remember he played for England in Switzerland and he looked absolutely marvellous. He was already here [then] and he is a player we all want and would like to come back.
“I see signs of him now in training where he is like that period. It’s difficult to imagine a guy who has basically been one and a half years out. At his age, that’s absolutely dramatic.”