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Arsene Wenger hails Danny Welbeck return

Arsene Wenger believes Danny Welbeck will go to the World Cup with England if the Arsenal striker can remain fit this season.

The 26-year-old has struggled with injuries since moving to the Emirates Stadium from Manchester United in 2014, starting just 39 Premier League games and has been recently sidelined with a groin injury suffered in last month's defeat at Watford.

The forward is expected to make his latest return in Thursday's Europa League tie in Cologne, with the Gunners needing just a point to seal top spot in Group H.

Welbeck featured in England's World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia in September and Wenger has backed him to win back his place in Gareth Southgate's squad - if he can steer clear of further setbacks.

"Danny has the potential to go. If he's fit, he will go, I'm convinced of that," Wenger replied, when asked about Welbeck's World Cup chances.

"I have long experience. I've known players who've won the World Cup who in November had no chance to go to the World Cup.

"I remember (Emmanuel) Petit in 1998, he made it in March, April, May, and was one of main players at the World Cup (for France)."

While Welbeck has had his injury concerns he has always retained the backing of Wenger, as well as his team-mates.

"I would say that for me he is a striker who has a top physical quality, good movement, and a team player as well," the Arsenal boss added.

"He can score goals, he can provide, he can play through the middle, on the flanks, I believe he is a top-class striker. On top of that he's loved by everybody in the squad, a fantastic guy on top of that, loved by everybody."

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