Arsenal boss says he “always believed” in Bendtner
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsene Wenger is adamant that he always had faith in Nicklas Bendtner after the striker made a scoring return to the Arsenal side against Hull.
Bendtner was named in the Gunners’ starting line-up for the first time in the Premier League this season – and immediately repaid his manager’s confidence by finding the net inside two minutes.
Having been loaned out during the last two seasons – and almost sold to Crystal Palace in the summer – the Denmark international appeared to have little future at the Emirates.
After watching his side overcome Hull 2-0, Wenger admitted: “The guy has not played for a long time and his last performance, against Chelsea [in the Capital One Cup] was not convincing.
“But he worked in hard in training and deserved the chance. We know that when he has the mind for the game, he has the qualities and he had a good game.
“He has the stature, he has good technical quality. We had him as a boy of 15 or 16 and I made him sign a long contract twice. That means I always believed in his qualities.”
The 25-year-old striker headed in Carl Jenkinson’s cross to register his first league goal in an Arsenal shirt since December 2010, with Mesut Ozil adding the Gunners’ second just after half-time.
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Bendtner eventually made way for Theo Walcott with just over a quarter of an hour remaining and Wenger added: “Walcott was sick on Monday and in the last week he has not practised at all.
“So I was never tempted to start him – he had not played for seven weeks and he’s not completely ready. We have a very heavy schedule, that’s why I had to rest some players.”
Arsenal host Everton in the Premier League on Sunday before travelling to Italy for their final Champions League group match against Napoli three days later.