Danny Welbeck says the opportunity to take part in pre-season training from the off bodes well for his chances of making an impact in the upcoming season.
The England international has had to sit out the previous two summers due to successive serious knee injuries but has held up well to the rigours of regular football since returning in January.
Welbeck, who earned praise from Arsene Wenger for his performance in the Gunners 2-0 win over Sydney FC yesterday, told the Mirror that despite his fitness frustrations he’s optimistic about the coming months.
“It’s been frustrating,” said the 26-year-old. “I’ve spoken about it in the past and it’s not nice.
“Obviously you’ve got to deal with the injuries but that’s behind me now and I’ve got to kick on. I’ve got to build a base for pre-season and hopefully stay injury-free for the season.
“I haven’t had the best of luck with injuries, it’s hindered my progression and where I want to be but hopefully I can stay injury-free and really show what I can do.
“It’s been a couple of years [since I took part in pre-season], it’s obviously nice to be fit for pre-season. I’m fit, not match fit, but going into it injury-free is good for me. Build a base, I can build on that for the rest of the season.
“I got fit last season but you also have to take your time with it and build up steadily through the levels and to be back out here in a pre-season, my first pre-season for three years.”
Welbeck also touched on the competition for places at Arsenal with the likes of Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and new boy Alexandre Lacazette all on Arsene Wenger’s striker roster.
“I think from when I was a little boy playing in the academy, you’ve always got competition wherever you may be and it’s something you learn to deal with and you just want to keep on improving. It makes you hungrier.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting season. There’s a lot of strong teams, a lot of teams making great additions to their squads. It’s one that will be an exciting season, one that we’re ready for and one we’re looking forward to.”