Arsene Wenger says that the two serious injuries, and a smattering of smaller ones, suffered by Danny Welbeck have had a serious impact on the striker, but the Arsenal manager has backed his player ahead of tomorrow night’s clash with Ostersund.
With Alexandre Lacazette recovering from surgery and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cup-tied the 27 year old will get the nod up front against the Swedish outfit, and he’ll be hoping to have a bigger role to play than in the first leg.
The Frenchman believes the pitch played a part in that, and also that two serious knee injuries have dented Welbeck’s confidence.
“Even with a muscular injury you lose faith in your body quickly,” he said. “One of the advantages of being young is that you feel undestroyable.
“It gives you an arrogance. But as soon as your arrogance is hit, you are lost.
“Sometimes the players are very confident, very arrogant but as soon as they lose that belief in their body, suddenly you are lost and you don’t know any more what is going on.
“I believe he has gone through a torrid time but he has come out well. I see signs in training now that are positive.
“If he can stay on the pitch and not be injured, I want him to stay here.”
The Frenchman is hopeful his experience on a difficult pitch last week will help restore some of that lost confidence.
“When we played in Ostersund it was a good test for him because you would think the player you don’t want to pick on an artificial pitch would be him because of his history,” he said.
“He came through well and I think for him, in his head, it was very important that he came out of that game without having any problems.”