Welbeck returns to training following nine months out with knee injury
- The first pictures of Danny Welbeck on the training pitch have been released after returning from long injury
- The striker has been out of action since April 2015 after suffering a serious knee injury that required surgery
- The Gunners and England forward seems happy to be back on the training pitch as he edges closer to a return
Danny Welbeck is edging closer to making his return for Arsenal after nine agonising months on the sidelines.
The England striker has returned to training with the Gunners first-team and was happy to share a smile for the cameras as boss Arsene Wenger put has side through their paces ahead of the FA Cup fourth round clash with Burnley.
Welbeck underwent knee surgery last September and Wenger concedes he still has some work to do before he can be considered for the match-day squad.
Arsenal forward Welbeck (centre) looked delighted to be back on the training pitch with his team-mates after returning this week
The England international has not played for Arsene Wenger’s side since April 2015 after suffering a serious knee injury
The 25-year-old appeared in high spirits on Friday as he builds his fitness ahead of a possible return to the first team in February
Arsenal manager Wenger insists Welbeck’s re-integration to the team will be gradual with a number of outings in the Under 21s likely
Wenger said: ‘It has to be gradual, he has to go through Under 21 games. There are steps. Danny has not played since April 2015, we are now in February so that is very long for a top-level competitor.
‘That means you have to accept that he goes through small steps and one of them is to play in the Under 21s for the first 45 minutes.
‘He is basically fit but now he has to absorb the competition, the intensity of the competition, that becomes the next step for him.’
Meanwhile, Wenger insists that Arsenal do not need to buy in order to keep up their challenge for a first Premier League title since 2004.
Wenger did not add a single outfield player last summer, and has made just one signing in this window, bringing in midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who is yet to make his debut.
But with the likes of Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky returning to fitness, Wenger believes that there is no need to invest further before the winter window slams shut on Monday.
Welbeck, who has surgery in September, takes a well-earned breather as he gets back up to speed after such a lenghty lay-off
The former Manchester United striker works on building his fitness by himself during a running exercise at London Colney on Friday
Welbeck joins his Arsenal team-mates as they are put through their paces ahead of the weekend’s FA Cup clash with Burnley
Gunners boss Wenger said on Friday that Welbeck would have to take small steps on his route back to the first-team squad
Welbeck will be keen to get back into the Arsenal side as he bids to prove his fitness ahead of the European Championship this summer
Arsenal boss Wenger (right) does not expect to make any more additions to the squad during this transfer window
Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny (centre) is the only outfield player the club have signed this season
Alexis Sanchez (left) lines up a shot during training as he is chased down by midfielder Mathieu Flamini during Friday’s session
Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil gestures to the camera as the Gunners train ahead of the FA Cup fourth round clash at the Emirates
Wenger hinted that out of favour right back Mathieu Debuchy could leave the club during the current window, although a deal is not yet done.
‘Debuchy might go somewhere but I don’t know where at the moment, but that decision has to be made very quickly now because it is only 48 hours to go and he has much interest,’ said the Arsenal boss.
‘But I have a number of people who can play right back so I’ll open the door for him because at the moment he does not play and he has Bellerin in front of him.’
However, with 23 of his 25 senior players now fit, with Coquelin and Rosicky available for Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Burnley and Welbeck in line for an Under 21 return, he denied that any more senior players would arrive at the club.
‘Welbeck is coming back and Alexis Sanchez is back,’ said Wenger on Friday. ‘We have the quality and the players that we need up front.’
Source: Daily Mail