Danny Welbeck says he always felt the love from the Arsenal fans and has left the club having made friends for life.
The England international joined Watford on a free transfer in the summer after five years at the Emirates and is hoping, after three serious injuries in quick succession, that he can get his career back on track at Vicarage Road.
“Right from the beginning of my time at Arsenal I always felt a lot of love and support from the fans,” Welbeck told the Watford official website ahead of Sunday’s game against the Gunners.
“Obviously, we had some great times there and some terrible lows as well. Things were difficult for me at times but when I’m on the pitch I’m always going to give it 100 per cent and the fans saw that and recognised that. They saw me go through some really hard times but they were always there to support me.
He added: “I have so many great memories, especially winning the FA Cup final in 2017. We were up against a good Chelsea side and it was a very good performance that day. To win the cup was a great feeling and it was a really big high for myself personally.
“Scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League was another, and coming back from injury to score the winner at Leicester was another thing I’ll always remember. There are also memories that people won’t have seen, like making lifelong friends at the club and all the people who have helped me along my journey.”
Welbeck also admitted that the injury that forced him to sit out five months of last season was particularly hard to swallow. Having been in fine form at the start of the campaign, the striker broke his ankle in a Europa League game before Christmas and didn’t feature again in an Arsenal shirt.
“My last game for Arsenal was against Sporting last November, and that’s when I injured my ankle,” he explained.
“It wasn’t nice at all. The physio ran on and he was grabbing my leg, and I just knew from that moment I had done something that wasn’t going to just keep me out for a couple of weeks.
“Having already come back from some pretty serious injuries, it was so hard. I remember getting in that dressing room and you don’t want to know what I was saying. The staff were great with me and the players came and supported me.
“My family and friends came to the hospital that night but once everyone was gone and I was in that hospital room on my own I just had a little cry to myself, letting my emotions out. But the next day I just thought, ‘right it’s happened now and I’ve just got to crack on and try to come back stronger’. It’s so important to let your emotions out first and then crack on.”