Danny Welbeck has revealed that club captain, Per Mertesacker, helped him through a ‘dark place’ when he was out with his most recent knee injury.
Welbeck, 26, is still managing his return from the knee problem that kept him out for 243 days and 31 games. That followed just a few months after another knee issue ruled him out for 276 days and 41 games.
In total, Welbeck has missed 78 Arsenal games through injury (he also had a thigh injury that kept him out for six games) in two-and-a-half years. During his time at Manchester United, he missed 18, 21 if you include the three he missed while on loan at Sunderland.
Unsurprisingly, Welbeck struggled at times dealing with being sidelined for so long, but it was Mertesacker who helped him though.
“Obviously we both had long-term knee injuries,” Welbeck said.
“It’s difficult to put this guy into words, man. He’s one of the sickest guys [inaudible] .
“He just lifts the whole atmosphere up in the dressing room.
“And I think he helped me a lot, being out injured.
“He’s always there talking to you, giving you advice, asking you how you’re feeling.
“I think once you’re injured it can be quite a dark place, but Per was one of the reasons that kept me smiling throughout those times.
“Even his playlist is bangin’ to be fair.”He’s mad, you walk into the dressing room and he’s just there singing Drake and Future and stuff like that
Many were surprised when Per was handed the club captaincy this summer, especially as the announcement came when he had already been ruled out for a long chunk of the season himself. But while we all see what goes on in front of us when the players are on the pitch, we rarely give much thought to what a captain does behind the scenes that doesn’t require legs that actually work.