By Arsenal correspondent Alex Stevens

Danny Welbeck will play his first match in 10 months on Friday afternoon, Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

The Arsenal striker is on the comeback trail as he steps up his recovery from a knee injury that has sidelined him since last April.

The England international is set feature in Arsenal’s Under-21 Premier League match with Brighton on Friday afternoon at the Gunners’ London Colney training ground.

But Wenger warned that Welbeck must be patient before he makes his return to the first team squad as he will not be rushed back.

Speaking at his media briefing on Friday, the manager said: “Danny Welbeck will play for the Under-21s today. He needs to play a few games before coming back. He has been out for 10 months and needs to be patient.

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“In the next three weeks he should be available [for the first team].”

Welbeck has not played for Arsenal since the team’s goal-less draw with Chelsea on 26 April last year.

Welbeck injured his knee after coming on as a late substitute in that match, subsequently underwent surgery in September and only returned to full training last month.

Although Arsenal have failed to find the net in their last three Premier League matches, Wenger will gradually phase the striker back into action.