Monday 20 August 2018

Wenger backs revitalised Welbeck to shine at World Cup

Arsenal's Danny Welbeck. Photo: PA
Arsenal's Danny Welbeck. Photo: PA

Stuart James

Arsene Wenger says Danny Welbeck's versatility makes him a strong candidate for England this summer and his renewed confidence with Arsenal as a result of a recall to the international stage.

Welbeck has endured a largely frustrating season that has seen him pushed to the periphery at the Emirates following the high-profile signings of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the former Manchester United striker starting only 10 Premier League games and used more often than not by Wenger as a substitute.

Recently, however, Welbeck has enjoyed a run in the team, scored important goals and looked particularly sharp, with the 27-year-old scoring five times in his last five club appearances.

Arsenal make the trip to Newcastle for today's lunchtime fixture and with Welbeck missing so much football through injury in recent seasons, Wenger believes the player is fresher now as a result.

"For Danny, it has been very good recently because he got games," Wenger said. "He needed games and what is good with Danny is that he has a combination of power, pace and determination when he is really at his best physically. He looks like that is where he is now."

Welbeck has been a valued member of the England squad over the years and has an excellent record at international level, registering 15 goals in his 37 caps, yet he did not feature in the October or November internationals this season.

Gareth Southgate, the England manager, named Welbeck in his squad for the recent ties against Holland and Italy, however, and everything points to the player retaining his place for the World Cup finals if he can maintain his recent form.

Asked if Welbeck has taken confidence from his England recall, Wenger replied: "Maybe. That reminded him that he is not completely forgotten because at the moment everybody is talking about [Harry] Kane and rightly so. But there is room for him [Welbeck]. He can play wide - on the right, on the left - and central. He can play with anybody."

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