Arsene Wenger praises 'positive' Nicklas Bendtner return, but warns the striker must stay fit

Dane appeared for Arsenal for the first time since August 2011

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The Independent Football

After his first Arsenal appearance since August 2011, Arsene Wenger described Nicklas Bendtner’s return in the League Cup penalty victory over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night as “positive”, but the maintained the striker has to stay fit to figure in his plans.

The 25-year-old, who has been out on two loan spells – at Sunderland and Juventus – since he last played for Arsenal, made the assist for Thomas Eisfeld for the Gunners' goal, but dwindled on a chance in extra-time before the ball was taken away from him by Craig Dawson. He did make amends for the miss by stepping up to slot away his penalty in the shoot-out coolly.

"I thought overall he had a good game," Wenger said of the Dane. "For a guy who has not played for such a long time, and on his own up front, he did very well.

"I believe for Nicklas, the most important thing for him is to stay fit. As for the rest, he has the talent.

"It is important that he is now consistently present and works hard physically. He has top qualities."

On Bendtner's late opportunity, when he was dispossessed by Dawson after taking his time on the chance, Wenger added:

"What happened to him is what happens to many strikers when they have too much time to score - they wait and wait, and wait for too long. But overall, I thought his game was positive.

"One thing you don't question too much with him is his confidence."