Sports

Wenger backs Welbeck for World Cup call

Wenger backs Welbeck for World Cup call

His chances of being part of Gareth Southgate's squad for the World Cup have been badly hurt as a effect, but Wenger was adamant on Wednesday that if he is fit, he will go, and pointed to the example of Emmanuel Petit, who scored in the final for France in 1998 having been a non-entity on the global scene for the better part of the previous year.

Welbeck missed Euro 2016 with a knee ligament injury sustained just before the tournament, an injury that ruined the 2016-17 season for him as well as wrecking Roy Hodgson's plans for France.

While Welbeck has had his injury concerns he has always retained the backing of Wenger, as well as his team-mates.

Welbeck is likely to feature in some capacity when Arsenal travel to Germany looking to secure top spot in Group H, but regardless of whether he starts or not, Wenger revealed that he will be picking a strong XI. He is top-class striker and on top of that he is loved by everybody in the squad. "If he is fit, he will go, I am convinced of that".

"For me he is a striker who had top physical qualities", Wenger, who replied "yes" when asked if Welbeck could start, told reporters at his pre-match press conference. I have long experience.

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"On top of that he's loved by everybody in the squad, a fantastic guy on top of that, loved by everybody". As a effect of that, the best way to go to the World Cup is not to think, "I have to prepare for the World Cup", it is to do well for club and automatically you are in the national team.

Wenger said: "We are all very happy that he's back, he's gone through very hard periods in last three years".

Welbeck returned to the Arsenal squad for the first time in five weeks at the weekend, remaining an unused substitute as the FA Cup holders cruised to a comfortable 2-0 north London derby victory over rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Every game is important and you want to win. It makes sense for Cologne to go for it and also to play with freedom and while a loss or draw would not really affect the group it may hurt us at the same time it helps them.

No trouble is anticipated but fans have been warned they will be turned away from the vicinity of the ground without a valid ticket.


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