Danny Welbeck has been making good progress since returning to first-team training over the Christmas period - but is he in line to play against Preston North End?

Arsène Wenger has been impressed with what he has seen of the England international, but says that with an under-23s game on Friday, he is still undecided as to his approach.

on Welbeck…
I haven’t decided yet, but he could be [in line to play at Preston] - it depends on Lucas a little bit, it also depends on how he feels. Physically his fitness is at quite a good level, but of course the ideal way is to give him two or three games with the under-23s. But the situation is not always ideal, sometimes you have to hurry up.

on Welbeck’s recovery…
He wants to play. But Danny is as well conscious [of taking his time]. He came back after a long injury and had a setback so he suffered a lot. At the moment, I think he listens well to what people advise him to do, even if he is naturally impatient. After you’ve been out for such a long time you do not want a setback.

on whether it’s more likely we will see Welbeck on the bench at Preston…
Yes, of course. He will not start the game.

on whether Danny would’ve started up front this season if he had been fit…
Yes, it could have happened. That’s the coincidence sometimes of the availability and injuries and it’s true. Danny and Alexis are similar types of players, in the fact that they both love to play on the left. But they can both play through the middle and there is always an uncertainty on where their best position is.

 

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Rob Kelly 5 Jan 2017