‘Mentally stronger’ Welbeck ready to fire for England

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England striker Danny Welbeck says he has emerged mentally stronger after a knee injury ruled him out of the 2016 European Championships and the 27-year-old is keen to make an impact in next month’s World Cup in Russia.

Welbeck was sidelined for eight months after undergoing surgery for the knee problem but the Arsenal forward has since forced his way back into England manager Gareth Southgate’s plans.

“Missing out on the last tournament with injury was frustrating for me,” Welbeck told British media.

“If you get a big injury, it is not easy at all to deal with it. It’s a lonely period when you’re not out on the pitch helping your team mates and doing what you love doing.

“You can develop mentally when you’re away from the pitch. You can take all that frustration, pain and hurt from not playing and try and use that as a way of helping you and reminding you of what you are missing out on.”

Welbeck has 15 international goals in 37 matches, the most for any player in the squad bound for Russia and three more than first choice striker Harry Kane, and will look to add to his tally when England take on Nigeria in a friendly on Saturday.

“I haven’t pointed that out to the manager, he knows all the ins and outs but that is something I want to build on,” Welbeck added ahead of the match at Wembley. “I have had a lot of success on the international stage and I want that to continue.”

England open their World Cup campaign with a Group G encounter against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18, before taking on Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24 and finally Belgium in Kaliningrad four days later.