Thursday 22 March 2018

Bendtner's threat to quit Gunners shocks Wenger

Jeremy Wilson

NICKLAS BENDTNER has threatened to leave Arsenal unless he is given more opportunities to play in the first team. In an outspoken interview with a Danish newspaper, Bendtner also risked offending some of his own team-mates by declaring that he was "100pc good enough" to be in Arsenal's starting line-up.

"I'm extremely disappointed with the lack of minutes," said Bendtner. "If the situation doesn't change and I'm still on the bench at Arsenal, I'll look for a transfer. That's obvious. But my first priority is definitely -- as it has always been -- to play for Arsenal. I've had a lot of patience and I won't sit on the bench anymore."

Bendtner's remarks are understood to have taken Arsene Wenger aback, particularly as the 22-year-old has only recently returned from a long-term injury and not communicated his frustration in person.

Last night, Wenger simply urged Bendtner to show some patience. "I communicate every day with him and he never told me that (he was frustrated)," said the Arsenal manager.

"Have you ever seen a player who is on the bench and not frustrated? I have been very pleased with his attitude and spirit. He has to continue to work hard. When he is completely match-fit he will play. He has to be a little bit patient."

Of the possibility of players leaving in January, Wenger said: "What we are focused on is to win together with the squad we chose at the start of the season. We are on a train which wants to go to the terminal station and that means nobody moves out when the train is moving."

Wenger also stressed his side would be chosen solely on performances.

"I don't give assurances to anybody. We cannot say on one side that we are in top-level competition and also give the players guarantees. The only guarantees are their performances.

"Nicklas has a good level of confidence and that is not bad, but you have to justify it on the football pitch. He is getting sharper in training and he will play games."

Wenger has preferred Marouane Chamakh so far this season as his main central striker, and the return from injury of Robin van Persie also now intensifies competition. Bendtner made his comeback following groin surgery just four weeks ago but is adamant that he should be starting.

"I feel I've done everything right in getting back to fitness and I'm in the best shape of my life," he said. "I feel better than before the injury and at that point I was in the starting XI and close to fulfilling my potential. I'm turning 23 soon, and at this stage in my career it's important to my development and further career to play regularly, game after game. When I'm 100pc fit, I can't accept sitting on the bench.

"I'll just say that I'm 100pc good enough for the starting XI. I've been sitting enough on the bench in my career. If my manager feels differently that's fair, but then I disagree."

Meanwhile, Everton manager David Moyes believes the Gunners will stick to their footballing principles at Goodison Park tomorrow.

"I don't think Arsenal will be coming to Goodison trying to stifle Everton," he said. "I think they will come and do what we would do -- they will play their game." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Everton v Arsenal,

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