Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed his surprise at how well Danny Welbeck has hit the ground running in the first-team.
The England international made his first start of the campaign, having been absent with a knee injury, and nailed that comeback with a first-half brace as well as an assist.
Arsene Wenger has now moved to express his delight and surprise at his immediate impact following such a lengthy absence.
“It didn’t look that way at all,” Wenger said.
“We have always two fears – the first is that it takes him too long to get the decision-making, and secondly that the player is scared to go into any contact.
“When he made the runs and was fighting the defender, for me that was a very important moment for him.
“I knew that he worked very hard, but you never know how much efficiency there will be… to transfer that into a competitive game.
“I think it was great to see that he hasn’t lost his runs, he hasn’t lost his finishing.
“It shows as well, when you are able to transform that frustration of not playing into efficiency, that’s a special guy.”
Welbeck’s return was only overshadowed by Theo Walcott’s hat-trick, which was of course his first match in 2017 also. The former Southampton youth product has been ruled out since before Christmas, and will be ecstatic to have continued his fine form of early in the term.
Welbeck will now have to vie with a number of rivals for first-team football, with both Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud in top form battling for a centre-forward role, as well as Theo Walcott, Lucas Perez, Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain vying for the three remaining attacking roles.
Does Danny deserve a starting spot for Tuesday’s match? Will he earn a first-team role ahead of his rivals on the wing or up front?