Arsene Wenger says Danny Welbeck is back to his physical best and backed Gareth Southgate to select the striker for England’s World Cup squad.
Injuries have pockmarked the 27-year-old’s time at the Emirates since he signed from Manchester United in 2014 but with 30 appearances to his name this season, including 18 starts, he’s been a familiar face in an Arsenal attacking unit that has undergone serious surgery.
Having started the campaign competing for a starting place with Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud, Welbeck now finds himself going head-to-head with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
In the absence of the former in the Europa League and with the latter pair variously afflicted with injuries, he’s come good to net five goals in five games.
After Welbeck’s fine goal helped steady Arsenal nerves against CSKA Moscow in the second leg of their quarter-final in Moscow, Wenger drew attention to how fresh his striker is and why that can be a benefit to the national team.
“Danny shows that at the moment. For Danny it has been very good recently because he got games,” he said.
“He needed games and what is good with Danny is that he has a combination of power, pace and determination when he is really at his best physically. He looks like that is where he is now.
“Maybe he would not be there now if he had played all the games. If Danny is injury-free, he is a very good player.”
On Welbeck’s recent call-up for England friendlies with Holland and Italy, the boss went on: “The recall reminded him that he is not completely forgotten because at the moment everybody is talking about Harry Kane and rightly so.
“But there is room for him. If you are national coach, what for me is very interesting is that he can play wide – on the right, on the left – and central. He can play with anybody.”
Welbeck’s form at international certainly enhances his chances of being on the plane to Russia. Since making his debut for the Three Lions in 2011 he’s helped himself to 15 goals in 37 games; a very decent scoring rate.