Arsène Wenger says Nicklas Bendtner still has Arsenal in his heart despite almost leaving the Club in the summer.
The Denmark international spent the last two campaigns on loan - at Sunderland and then Juventus - but he is back in Wenger's first-team squad after a late transfer window move was blocked by the manager.
He wanted to leave because he had some turbulence in his career... It [the move] didn't work and now he's ready for a fight. He will get his chance
Bendtner made his first Arsenal appearance in more than two years on Wednesday and emerged with credit after setting up a goal for Thomas Eisfeld then scoring in the penalty shoot-out that took the Gunners into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
Bendtner is approaching his eighth anniversary at the Club and Wenger believes that is significant.
"He's still an Arsenal boy," the manager told Arsenal Player. "You don't arrive at a club at the age of 15 like he did and have all these years here without having any feeling for the Club.
"I think he has an honest feeling for the Club. He wanted to leave because he had some turbulence in his career. He wanted to play, you can understand that completely and I accepted it. It [the move] didn't work and now he's ready for a fight. He will get his chance.
"I think he did very well, for a first game," added Wenger. "You have to take your hat off to him because he has worked very hard. Physically, he is the guy who has worked the hardest of all because he came back in a very bad shape.
"Credit to him, he put the effort in and he has shown last night that even [after playing] 120 minutes in his first game [back], he never had any cramp or muscle problem. He finished the game well."Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source