(Reuters) - Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck has been motivated by the competition for first team action with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette but believes he can also fill the void left in the lineup by Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s injury.
Welbeck enjoyed a productive outing in Arsenal’s 3-2 Premier League win over Southampton on Sunday, scoring two goals and earning praise from manager Arsene Wenger for showing signs of his best form following three injury-hit seasons.
The 27-year-old England international had been expected to compete with recent signings Lacazette and Aubameyang for game-time but the striker suggested he can play alongside the pair.
“As you’ve seen, I can play with Pierre and with Laca,” Welbeck told British media. “It is nice. It gives you that added motivation. The competition is there so you are going to improve and better yourself.
“I’ve had that throughout my whole career. Being at an academy where players come from all over the world and it is the same here, you are always going to have that competition. It is healthy.”
Welbeck is expected to play a key role in the final stretch of the season after Mkhitaryan suffered a knee-ligament injury in the 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final last week. [nL3N1RM16K]
“We all wish him a speedy recovery. Hopefully, he is available as soon as possible, but it is the manager’s decision who he wants in the team,” Welbeck added.
“Obviously, with the goals... I’ve staked my claim. Going into the game on Thursday, we want to get the win and get into the next round.”
Arsenal visit Moscow for the return leg on Thursday.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru