Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised Dane striker Nicklas Bendtner for his all-round performance against West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup tie on Wednesday night at the Hawthorns.
The 25-year-old has had a torrid time in the last couple of years. He was sent on loan twice in the past two seasons while it became almost certain that he has no future at the Emirates. He was certain to leave the North London club this summer but Wenger kept him in the squad, having failed to land any big-name striker.
The Denmark striker was back in the starting line-up after more than two years of absence and he celebrated his return with a penalty goal and an assist in the regular time, as the Gunners earned a 4-3 victory in the penalty shoot-out, setting up a date with London rivals Chelsea in the next round.
“He did very well”, says Wenger as quoted in the Danish newspaper BT.
When Wenger was asked to discuss about that moment when Bendtner could have killed the tie, having found him one-on-one with the goalie, but the Dane hesitated to pull the trigger and was ultimately tackled from behind, the Frenchman replied:
“What happened to him is what happens to many attackers when they have too much time to score. But overall he played well.”
Wenger was pleased with the fans’ reception towards Bendtner and lauded the Dane’s confidence for scoring the opening penalty for the Gunners.
He added: “One thing you should never question about him is his confidence. I know him well here in England. For him it is important to deliver constantly as he is working hard on the training.”
Bendtner probably didn’t expect that he would get another chance (probably his final chance) to be at Arsenal and show his true mettle to his manager. If he continues to work hard and regains confidence, he might even get a national team call-up as well.