By Chris Harris
Nicklas Bendtner is taking the opposite route to Thierry Henry in his quest for stardom.
The French striker was famously transformed from a winger into a striker by Arsène Wenger after the manager brought him to north London in 1999. Henry vindicated his compatriot’s decision by scoring a record 226 goals for the Club.
In contrast, Bendtner has recently found himself stationed on the right of a three-pronged attack despite spending his formative years as a centre forward.
The big Dane has had plenty of joy in his wide role - he made the crucial breakthrough against Ipswich in midweek after drifting in from the flank. And Wenger believes that a recent chat with the aforementioned Henry has given Bendtner a boost.
“Thierry spoke to him,” revealed the manager. “I don't know what was said but I saw them speak together. I don't know what people speak about in the dressing room.
“It can be about football, it can be about cars, it can be about anything. But Thierry likes to give advice to the other strikers.”
Bendtner is a confident lad but he has had his work cut out this season thanks to injury, that positional switch and the fine form of Marouane Chamakh and Robin van Persie.
However, Wenger believes that the Dane is coming round to the idea of forging a future on the flank.
“What a goalscorer likes the least is when you tell him to go out wide and cross the ball in for the others to score. Thierry was exactly the same,” he said.
“At the start he said 'I don't want to play central because I cannot score goals'. Once he started to score, if I would have told him to go wide and play in the others he wouldn't have liked it.
“I have that problem with all the strikers. When you play 4-4-2 and have two strikers, you say to one, maybe you make more runs wide and cross in for the other one who scores. He says yes but you must be patient.
“He [Bendtner] didn't surprise me with that goal [against Ipswich] because he works on that in training. He is very good on the left side. In fact if he has to play wide, I think he would prefer to play on the left so he can cut inside.
“Nicklas is normally not short of confidence so when he is questioned he is ready to say ‘I will show you’ because he knows how good he is.
“But in fairness I like the way he behaves. He is in a job where confidence is very important.”Copyright 2014 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 29 Jan 2011