By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Danny Welbeck has still not started running again as he refuses to set a date for his Arsenal comeback.
The striker has been publicly ruled out by the club until at least the New Year after undergoing knee surgery in early September.
But, speaking about his injury hell, Welbeck has admitted his recovery is “slow”, throwing fresh doubt on his ability to be playing again by early 2016.
The England international has been sidelined since April and sources have told Football Insider that he experiences pain in his knee when he runs at any speed above a light jog or makes simple actions such as turns. The possibility is growing that he might be sidelined for far longer than Wenger has predicted.
“It’s slow and steady but it’s coming along,” Welbeck admitted to club channels. “It’s difficult to see the lads when you’re still in the gym, doing double days, but once I get back out on the pitch and start running I will be much happier. It’s a difficult period for me but I’m looking forward to coming back strong.
“I want to get back out on the pitch, keep on improving, keep training and keep fit – that’s the main thing. I just want to get back to playing football.
“I’m trying to build muscle and it’s hard, but it’s something that I’ve grasped with two hands and I’m really looking forward to my return.”
Although it is the early stages of the striker’s rehabilitation, there is concern among Arsenal staff that surgery has not cured the cartilage problem.
The England international’s last game was Arsenal’s goal-less draw against Chelsea on 26 April. He had hoped to return before the end of last season, and then targeted a return in pre-season, but he has suffered multiple set-backs.
With Theo Walcott sidelined with a calf injury, Olivier Giroud is currently the Gunners’ only fit senior striker.
Football Insider revealed in early September that Welbeck had suffered a setback and would be out for months rather than weeks, with four to six months the expected recovery time, after Arsene Wenger had claimed that the £16million signing from Manchester United was recovering well from his knee problem suffered last season.
This was confirmed soon afterwards by the club as they delivered an update on Welbeck. “It had been hoped he would avoid surgery but after increasing his training workload, the injury to his cartilage did not respond as well as hoped and the decision was taken last week for him to undergo surgery by a leading specialist in the field,” read the statement. “Danny is now expected to be out for a period of months and everyone at Arsenal wishes him well.”