Arsene Wenger says Danny Welbeck shouldn’t be perturbed by his injury-hit start to the season and that the striker will deliver the goods on the pitch for Arsenal that will secure him a place in England’s squad for next summer’s World Cup.
The 26-year-old began the campaign in fine fettle scoring three times and grabbing an assist in the Gunners’ first five games of the season. His momentum has since been stunted by hip and groin problems, reducing him to just an hour of football since mid-September.
Having made the bench for the North London derby at the weekend, it’s expected that Welbeck will feature in tomorrow’s Europa League game with Cologne. His return to action comes with the full backing of the boss who thinks there’s plenty of time to perform for club and country.
“I have a long experience and I have known players who have won the World Cup who in November had no chance to go,” said the boss on Thursday.
“I remember especially [Emmanuel] Petit in 1998, he made it in March, April, May and he was one of the main players. Danny has the potential to go. If he is fit, he will go. I am convinced of that.
“It is a big year for him but I want it to be a big year for him for Arsenal. Because a consequence of that… the best way to go to the World Cup is not to think ‘I have to prepare for the World Cup’, it is to do well for your club and after you automatically are in the national team.
Wenger, sitting next to World Cup winner Per Mertesacker in the press conference, added:
“You have a player next to me who has over 100 caps for Germany, but he will tell you the best way to do that is to focus every day.
“Today, what is most important is to have consistent presence in competition. If you are in and out, you cannot be at your best. It is as simple as that. Even if you do play every single game, you have to be capable to practise every day.”
It’s not the first time this season that Wenger has used a press conference to big up the chances of one of his players going to the World Cup. Last month the boss urged Gareth Southgate to pick Jack Wilshere, alas, so far his words of encouragement have fallen on deaf ears.