Arsene Wenger has said he believes in Nicklas Bendtner despite almost selling the striker this summer.
No doubt there’s a measure of pragmatism to his comments. In the absence of Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Yaya Sanogo, who could have deputised for Olivier Giroud, the manager is forced into using a player whose last appearance for Arsenal was in May 2011.
Since then he’s had two dreadful loan spells, a drink driving conviction, and he appears to have a grown a beard worse than Katie Holmes.
Still, he’s likely to start the Capital One Cup game against West Brom tomorrow night and Wenger wanted to remind people of the qualities that see him the second highest overall scorer at the club at this moment in time.
“I personally believe in his qualities. It’s just down to attitude and fighting spirit. When he has that, Nicklas can be an unstoppable striker. He gets his chance. Our job is about that. Take your chance.
“Fans forgive you everything as long as you produce the performances on the football pitch. That’s what people want. I think our fans have a positive attitude towards Bendtner and they will be behind him. Only you can create that with your performances..
“I see him as a centre forward. He can use his body back to goal. He’s an intelligent player, he can play intelligent passes and protect. He’s a similar type size-wise to Olivier Giroud. The central role is perfect for him.”
Having previously declared his desire to go elsewhere (more than once), and generally annoyed people with his flim-flamming ways, it’s going to take some good performances to get people back on side.
Still, he’s going to be in the side tomorrow and let’s hope he does well. He might not be The Greatest Striker That Ever Lived but … well, you know.