Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he was pleasantly surprised by Danny Welbeck’s performance during their 5-0 victory over Southampton.
The England international scored two goals as the Gunners secured their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a convincing victory at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.
The 26-year-old was making his first start of the season after successfully recovering from the knee ligament injury he suffered last April, and his goalscoring return was made even more impressive as it is the second time he has had to return following a serious knee problem.
Wenger admits he was unsure whether the former Manchester United player would be able to return to full sharpness so quickly, and he has praised the forward for the hard work he has put in on the training field.
Asked if he had feared Welbeck may never recover full sharpness, Wenger said: “You do wonder. I wondered first of all would he be solid enough mentally to cope with that.
“Then secondly you hope he will go well after he comes back after the second surgery. He worked very hard, he went through some moments of very deep disappointment. Because when he had the setback and he had to go in again, as a professional player that’s very difficult.
“But he became even more resilient and worked even harder. He’s highly respected inside the club because he’s shown so much dedication.”