Arsene Wenger has admitted that Lukas Podolski is not yet fully fit after his injury problems, but has backed the German international to help Arsenal out of their striker ‘crisis’ when he is up to speed.
The former Cologne man banjaxed a hammy at the end of August, but despite making an appearance in the home game against Cardiff he was somewhat surprisingly benched for the FA Cup tie against Sp*rs.
And the Arsenal manager has made it clear he’s got more work to do on his general fitness before he’s likely to get a run in the side.
“Podolski is in the position of Chamberlain,” he said. “He has been out for four months and after being available, it doesn’t mean you are competitive in the Premier League.
“It takes him some time to come back. This week he looked sharper in training so he’s getting closer now to being completely fit again.”
The manager, as he did back in October, seems to have publicly called on the German international to give that bit more to fulfill his obvious potential.
“I believe when you are a football player, you can always improve. He’s working hard at the moment and he’s a fantastic finisher.
“If there’s one you want to see in front of the goal in a shooting position, it’s him. He’s certainly one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen. When he is physically ready, he will of course help us.
“He can play that central role when he’s completely fit. He came on in the recent game and was not completely ready but he is one of the potential assets we have there.”