herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

centre call by welbeck

Gunners' new boy promises goals in his wanted role

english striker Danny Welbeck is confident the goals will flow for Arsenal if he is given a run of games as an out-and-out attacker.

The 23-year-old begins a new chapter this week after swapping home-town club Manchester United for the Gunners in a £16million move on deadline day.

Welbeck had been with the Old Trafford giants since the age of eight, but dropped down the pecking order and grew increasingly frustrated at a lack of opportunities to lead the line.

It was a position he shone in for England on Monday evening, netting a second-half brace in Switzerland to secure a winning start to their European Championship qualifying campaign - goals he is confident will continue to rack up if he is allowed to play in his favoured role.

"It is well known I prefer to play through the middle so when I get my opportunity I just want to show what I can do," Welbeck said. "Once I get into the box and get the opportunities I have got faith in my ability.

"Before I wasn't getting into the box because I wasn't playing too much as a striker and I had to worry about my defensive work.

"Listen, anyone can say what they want to say but I just know once I get the opportunity and a run of games up front I will do my best.

"That's definitely what I need. It is good for any footballer to get a run of games.

"You become more confident and play much more at ease and to get a run of games would be absolutely perfect.

"That is my first 90 minutes this season so it is just the start of things and really looking forward to it."

Welbeck says he has not had a decent run of games since Christmas last year, suggesting Monday's display in Basle could be just a taster of what is in store for Arsenal. Welbeck could be given his debut in a central attacking role against ManchesterCity as Olivier Giroud faces several months of rehabilitation from a fractured foot.

Wenger is confident Welbeck will adapt to his new surroundings quickly.

"Danny Welbeck is an ideal signing for us because he can play through the middle, where I think is his best position but (he can play) as well on the flanks," said Wenger. "His qualities are his team attitude and his pace as well. As you could see with England; his goalscoring."

Wenger, who indicated he would have initially preferred a loan deal for the player, added: "It (adapting) is not difficult because it is not in a position where you need a lot of coordinated work, tactical work It is up front, so is a position where you can play free and go for it."

Wenger felt "haunted" by thoughts of another serious injury to Aaron Ramsey when watching the Arsenal midfielder turn his ankle while in action for Wales.

The club are hopeful Ramsey's injury - suffered during the Euro 2016 qualification victory on an artificial pitch in Andorra - will prove "short-term" and he could be in contention to face City.

Ramsey was forced to miss a crucial period last season with a niggling thigh problem, which saw the Gunners' title bid fade.

"The first news is not bad," said the Arsenal boss. "He has a little chance to be available for Saturday. He had an ankle sprain, it is a minor one, that is for sure. I am relieved because I had been haunted in my head by last year's injury that was much more serious than expected, at the start it was a little muscular injury and then it was three months. It is a short-term injury."

Arsenal should have Mikel Arteta and Kieran Gibbs back in the squad following their fitness issues before the international break, while playmaker Mesut Ozil has shaken off the ankle problem which saw him return to London from Germany ahead of schedule.

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