By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has urged Nicklas Bendtner to be patient and wait for his chance in the Arsenal first team.
The Danish striker put a long-standing groin problem behind him to return to action in September and he has made seven appearances since then, scoring twice. But Bendtner has come off the bench on five of those occasions as Marouane Chamakh continues to lead the line.
Reporters at Wenger's pre-match press conference suggested that Bendtner was frustrated with his perceived lack of opportunities and may seek first-team football elsewhere.
"I communicate every day with him and he never told me that," responded Wenger. "I don’t know. Have you ever seen a player who is on the bench and not frustrated?
"He works hard, he has been out for a long time. I must say I have been very pleased with his attitude and spirit. He has to continue to work and when he is completely match fit he will play.
"I must say his attitude has been extremely committed and I can understand [his frustration] because he has put a lot of effort in. Now he has to be a little bit patient.
“When you try to convince a player that he has to be patient, then you waste your time. That’s what you’ve got to do, but you ask a player if he is fit after two training sessions and he says ‘yes’. That’s it, that’s normal. I was the same.”
Bendtner is vying with Chamakh and Robin van Persie for a starting place in Wenger's preferred 4-3-3 formation and the manager admits it is a challenge to keep all three strikers happy.
"It is but you know we play so many games that we can easily rotate," said Wenger.
"Bendtner, Van Persie and Chamakh can play on the flanks as well. When everybody is available I always said we had a big squad."Copyright 2017 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