Danny Welbeck may soon become the forgotten man of Arsenal. No one will fault the supporters if they fail to recall the last time they saw the forward on the pitch. In fact, it may even stretch the memory of Welbeck to find his last match.
The England international has been out of action since April, when he suffered a knee injury. It kept him out of Arsenal’s FA Cup final a month later; and he’s been out ever since.
Before the pre-season, there was optimism that the talented forward would get fit by the start of the season. However, all that can now be thrown out of the window. His manager Arsene Wenger says that Welbeck is still “at least three weeks” away from game fitness.
“He’s not close,” said Wenger, speaking at his weekly press conference. “He’s not started full training, so I’d say at least three weeks from today.”
Welbeck joined the club from Manchester United with the mandate of playing more games. There was initial skepticism on the move because no one saw how he could upstage Olivier Giroud in the first team at Arsenal.
And the concerns were not entirely misplaced as a combination of lack of goals, Giroud and Alexis Sanchez resulted in Welbeck sliding down the pecking order. As such, this is an important season for him to prove that he can ably lead the line.
The injury will set him further back in Wenger’s plans. Theo Walcott has already been earmarked for a more central role this season. There is also talk about a move for the French striker Karim Benzema who is currently with Real Madrid.
It is a really frustrating time for Welbeck with his injuries. The least he can hope is to get fit as early as possible else run the risk of fast becoming the ‘forgotten man’ at the Emirates.
Ironically, England will miss Welbeck more than Arsenal. Welbeck is a key member for Roy Hodgson and the latest prognosis would rule him out of the European qualifiers against San Marino and Switzerland in September.
Will he be yet another Arsenal player that had loads of promise but simply faded away….