Arsenal’s Welbeck ‘back up to speed’
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Danny Welbeck believes he is back up to speed at Arsenal after a truncated pre-season because of the World Cup.
The 27-year-old only played 11 minutes as England reached the semi-finals in Russia, but it prevented him hitting the ground running under new Gunners boss Unai Emery on his return to the club.
Welbeck scored a brace in Arsenal’s 3-1 Carabao Cup third-round win over Brentford on Wednesday night, with Emery suggesting afterwards he is doing plenty to improve his chances of earning a first Premier League start of the campaign.
Alexandre Lacazette, who scored the other Arsenal goal late on after Alan Judge’s fine free-kick got the Bees back into the game, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both remained at home during the summer and have been Emery’s preferred picks in the league.
Welbeck played the whole game against Brentford and also started last week’s Europa League win over Vorskla Poltava.
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“You have got to wait for your opportunity,” he said, when asked about not starting a league game so far this season.
“A few of the lads had a bit more of a pre-season than me which made it a bit difficult, I came a back a bit later than the others.
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“I got 90 minutes last week, 90 minutes today and I’m just going to build on it from there and keep improving.”
Welbeck’s first start of the season actually came on England duty, as he led the line for the 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland at the King Power Stadium earlier this month.
Gareth Southgate will name his squad for the Nations League double-header against Croatia and Spain in the coming weeks, but Welbeck is keen to focus on his own game, rather than whether he has played enough to make the squad.
“It is for Gareth to decide who he picks in the squad, not for me or you to say,” he said.
“What I can do is just focus on me, not focus on anything else that is the most important thing.”
Welbeck was one of nine changes made by Emery from the Arsenal side that beat Everton on Sunday, but promotion-chasing Brentford also shuffled their pack.
Dean Smith made seven alterations, with Judge marking a recall with a well-struck free-kick.
The Republic of Ireland international felt the visitors deserved to take more from the Emirates Stadium after a spirited display.
“I think overall it was very good, in the first half we were a bit tentative, we were good on the ball without penetrating them,” Judge told Brentford’s official website.
“I thought in the second half we were very good, they scored the goal at the end against the run of play, but I think we gave a good showing of ourselves.
“From the minute it kicked off we went straight for it and I think we were unlucky not to get back to 2-2. It was a respectable scoreline and I think we deserved a little more.”