Danny Welbeck says he’s staked his claim for a regular place in Arsene Wenger’s starting XI after his second brace in four appearances helped Arsenal to a 3-2 win over Southampton on Sunday.
In the absence of Alexandre Lacazette, until recently sidelined with injury, and Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang, cup-tied in the Europa League, the England international has featured both as a central striker and as a useful foil on the left wing.
While he’s not a natural finisher – as evidenced by a bad miss against the Saints – he’s hoping to continue his scoring run for the Gunners as the season reaches its climax, especially with teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan likely to miss the next few weeks due to a knee injury.
“We all wish him [Mkhitaryan] a speedy recovery,” he told the Evening Standard.
“Hopefully he is available as soon as possible but it is the manager’s decision who he wants in the team.
“Obviously, with the goals yesterday I’ve staked my claim. It was decent to get a couple of goals and the assist. The miss, it isn’t like I wanted to miss. I just couldn’t stretch enough to get there.
“You just have to know there is going to be another opportunity and you have to keep focused. I’ve been through much tougher stuff than that.”
He added: “As you’ve seen, I can play with Pierre and with Laca. It is nice. It gives you that added motivation. The competition is there so you are going to improve and better yourself.
“I’ve had that [criticism] throughout my career. There are always going to be critics. You see people are criticising Cristiano Ronaldo and he’s at the pinnacle. Every day, you can do something good and people will have something bad to say about you. You just get on with it.”