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10th Jan, 2017 | 10:43am

Jack Wilshere: Arsenal have missed this 26-year-old star

By Will Butcher

Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal have missed Danny Welbeck’s presence in the side after the striker finally put his injury demons behind him.

The 26-year-old has been sidelined with a long-term knee injury, but made his return to the first-team with a late cameo appearance against Preston in the third round of the FA Cup.

Wilshere, who is currently on loan at Premier League outfit Bournemouth, claimed that the Gunners have “missed his quality” on his personal Twitter account.

Welbeck has been ruled out since the penultimate game of the 2015-16 campaign, which saw him stretchered off in the 24th minute during the 2-2 draw against Manchester City.

Missing all of pre-season and more than half of Arsenal’s 2016-17 campaign, the former Manchester United star’s return will be a boost to the Gunners by offering cover in attack.

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Since his move from rivals United back in the summer of 2014, Welbeck has pulled on his number 23 jersey just 51 times in all competitions. Starting 36 of those, the England international has scored 13 goals for the Gunners.

However, Welbeck is likely to struggle to regain his place in Arsene Wenger’s side with plenty of competition ahead of him in the pecking order.

Alexis Sanchez’s form has seen him become first choice this season, while Olivier Giroud’s recent goalscoring exploits are still fresh in the mind of Wenger.

Summer signing Lucas Perez is also considered above Welbeck, who may have to settle with intermittent appearances as he looks to complete his recovery with regular game time.

In other Arsenal news, this is why no big clubs have tried to sign a senior star according to Piers Morgan.