No regrets over World Cup injury nightmare, says Arsenal striker

Gunners forward Nicklas Bendtner has returned to training this week, having missed the first two months of the season with a groin injury he suffered in South Africa

ARSENAL striker Nicklas Bendtner says he has no regrets over playing in the World Cup finals despite suffering an injury nightmare since returning from South Africa.

Gunners forward Bendtner returned to training on Monday having not kicked a ball since aggravating a groin injury playing for Denmark at the summer’s World Cup finals.

He has missed the opening 10 games of the season, and is unlikely to return in time for Arsenal’s next game against Birmingham City at the Emirates a week on Saturday.

But after his first day of full training he said: “It’s a great day for me today. I’m ready to train on a level playing field with the others for the first time.

“Some of the boys are off because of internationals, but otherwise I will train together with the other first team players at Arsenal.

“I have no pain in the groin and have trained in hard, physical training, so maybe I’m in my best shape ever.

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“I need a couple of reserve team matches to be quite sharp in football terms, but then I hope that I can be with the first team in 14 days.”

Bendtner, 22, was carrying the injury at the start of the World Cup in June, but decided to play on and figured in all of Denmark’s three games as they went out in the group stages.

He remains was adamant that was the right decision, even if the groin problem was so severe that it necessitated a complete month’s rest when the player returned to pre-season training at Arsenal.

“I can figure out that if I had rested for the two-and-a-half month break, rather than go to South Africa, I’d be much further ahead now,” added Bendtner.

“I am a young player, but I do not know when such an opportunity comes again – that I can play in a World Cup finals.

“It was my first priority to participate and no, I have not regretted anything.”

Bendtner’s return will come as a welcome boost to Arsene Wenger, who has been relying solely on Marouane Chamakh in the absence of injured strike trio Bendtner, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott.

Chamakh struggled in the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, but Wenger has had no option but to persist with the Morocco international, although teenager Jay Emmanuel-Thomas did come off the bench at Stamford Bridge.

Bendtner is targeting being fit for the trip to Manchester City on October 24, by which time Wenger will also hope that Van Persie and Walcott are back in training.

Meanwhile skipper Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) and defender Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) are both hoping to return from injury for the game against Birmingham.

Neither has joined up with their respective countries for this week’s Euro 2012 qualifiers, with Vermaelen having not featured for Arsenal since picking up the injury playing for Belgium on September 7.

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