Arsene Wenger is convinced that Danny Welbeck’s knee injury could make him a better player.
The former Manchester United striker made his first appearance for Arsenal since May against Preston North End in the FA Cup at the weekend. Although it was Olivier Giroud who eventually scored the winner, sealing our 2-1 victory, it was great to see Welbz back on the pitch after so long out. Even if it was just for seven minutes.
As most know, the manner in which Welbeck was laid off for so long was gutting. He’d only just made a dream return against Leicester City in February, putting us 2-1 ahead with the final kick of the game, before injuring his knee in the penultimate clash of the season against Manchester City, a game we drew 2-2.
Wenger spoke about what the 26-year-old went through recently but admitted that he believes that this setback in Welbeck’s career could actually make him stronger in the long run.
“I think he went through certainly desperation because the setback he had was absolutely atrocious,” the boss said.
“The patience you need when you’re that age — and to miss the European Championship on top of that, after missing the start of the season — it was terrible. But he worked hard and certainly it will make him stronger, what happened to him.”
He’s not wrong. The lad must have tremendous mental strength (Wenger-ism klaxon) to overcome not one huge injury but another sustained just a couple of months later.
At the moment, however, I get the sense that the main priority is just to keep the guy fit. I’m sure the England international will return to his best soon enough, let’s just concentrate on keeping him in one piece first.