Arsenal’s attacking line is set to receive an injury boost as Danny Welbeck returns from the sidelines by making his first debut for the Friday’s under-21 fixture against Brighton at the London Colney training ground.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that including the England striker in the under-21 fixture is the perfect way to ease the former-Manchester United forward into competitive football.
The 25-year-old suffered a knee injury during Arsenal’s barren draw against Chelsea on 26 April and has not been available for selection since then.
Welbeck, who underwent surgery in September, has resumed training and will have his run out with the reserve side. The progress of his recovery after his return to first team training must be observed keenly, despite Arsenal still struggling to find cover for Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
Wenger said after their barren draw with Southampton on Tuesday night, that Welbeck’s return to fitness was a factor for him not signing a striker in the January transfer window.
In his club programme notes, Wenger wrote: “Danny Welbeck is stepping up his rehabilitation. We have to remember that he has not played since April 2015 and will need a game with the Under-21s, where we can monitor him and leave him free to play at his level of commitment. That looks to be very soon, maybe this week.”
Welbeck’s return to fitness will be a big boost for the north London club ahead of crucial months as they try to refresh their Premier League title hopes.
Arsenal have fallen behind their title challengers in recent weeks and currently sit in fourth place, five points behind league leader Leicester City. It is believed that the forward will give his side an added avenue in attack ahead of their fixtures in the Champions League, FA Cup and the Premier League.
According to reports, Welbeck could be part of the reserve squad for some time until February 15.