Wenger tells Bendtner to be patient
Arsene Wenger has told Nicklas Bendtner to be patient for his chance to lead Arsenal’s attack.
The 22-year-old has just returned from a groin problem which sidelined him since the World Cup, with five substitute appearances in the Premier League but no starts.
Bendtner – who scored against Manchester City and in the Carling Cup win at Newcastle – claims he is in the best shape of his life and lamented during an interview to a Denmark newspaper he was "wasting my time on the bench" suggesting he could look elsewhere for regular first-team football.
Wenger, though, has heard it all before and would expect nothing less of a confident young man.
"Have you ever seen a player who is on the bench and not frustrated?" the Arsenal manager said.
"When you try to convince a player that he has to be patient, then you waste your time, but that is what you have to do.
"You ask a player if he is fit after two training sessions and he says ‘yes’. That is normal. I was the same."
Wenger continued: "I have been very pleased with Nicklas’ attitude and spirit. He has to continued to work, and when he is completely match fit he will play.
"I can understand because he has put a lot of effort in. Now he has to be a little bit patient.
"Nicklas has a good level of confidence and that is not bad, but you have to justify it on the football pitch.
"He is getting sharper in training. He will play games.
"But we are a big club and we have big strikers – you cannot start the season with one striker. You decide and, unfortunately, you can only play 11."
Part of the reason Bendtner has found himself on the bench is the continued form of Marouane Chamakh.
The free transfer summer signing from Bordeaux has adapted quickly to life with the Gunners and his brace at Wolves made it eight goals from 17 appearances.
With Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie also now back in the frame, Wenger has plenty of attacking options as he prepares for Sunday’s trip to Everton.
"When you look at the number of times Chamakh was decisive, you can only say that if you are not happy you must be very difficult to please," Wenger reflected.
"I am extremely satisfied I signed him.
"Chamakh is a guy who gets others involved, who creates chances, who is collective in the final third.
"He is a very collective player and even if he doesn’t get 20 goals I am sure the players around him will score because of him."
The Morocco striker has, though, drawn some criticism for the way he is perceived to go down too easily in the penalty area, most notably away in the Champions League to Partizan Belgrade and also against Birmingham.
Wenger, however, insisted Chamakh was no diver.
"I spoke with him and said, ‘In England it is not tolerated, the English people become very aggressive about it’," the Arsenal boss revealed.
"He said ‘I don’t dive. Since I was young people ask me why I dive, but I don’t even know the way I go down and when I do it is because I have been unbalanced’."
Much had been made of Arsenal’s apology to Wolves defender Stephen Ward after he was caught by Cesc Fabregas’ late challenge, which Match of The Day pundit Alan Hansen claimed was worthy of a red card.
Wenger, though, stressed: "Cesc did not deserve to be sent off and the yellow card was the right decision.
"It was in my opinion a guy who goes for the ball and was too late. Is it a red or yellow card? In my opinion, it was a yellow card because the intention was to go for the ball, the foot was not too high."
Wenger added: "When I said ‘apologise’, it was not exactly the right word. He went to the dressing-room to say, ‘Sorry that I injured you’.
"You play in the park tomorrow, you want to go for the ball, you’re late, you hit the guy, he goes down, you say, ‘Sorry, I didn’t want to hurt you.’
"I must say the English sensitivity of journalists is so high and my vocabulary is not big enough to completely master absolutely every reaction."