Danny Welbeck knew something wasn’t right as soon as the Arsenal medical staff ran onto the field and mobilized his leg. Back on November 8, 2018 in a UEFA Europa League match at Sporting Lisbon, an ankle twist on the field turned into a broken ankle.
Two operations later after time in a hospital in Lisbon and England, and Welbeck’s season was over.
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It was the latest in a career filled with way too many serious injuries, and it meant that with Welbeck’s contract running out, his time at Arsenal was effectively over, at least in terms of playing on the field. Welbeck recovered enough to make the bench for the Europa League final, and he’s finally seeing the field again with his new side Watford. In an interview with the club’s website, Welbeck finally revealed his feelings after that serious ankle injury.
“My last game for Arsenal was against Sporting last November, and that’s when I injured my ankle. It wasn’t nice at all,” Welbeck said on Watford’s website. “The physio ran on and he was grabbing my leg, and I just knew from that moment I had done something that wasn’t going to just keep me out for a couple of weeks. Having already come back from some pretty serious injuries, it was so hard.
“I remember getting in that dressing room and you don’t want to know what I was saying. The staff were great with me and the players came and supported me. My family and friends came to the hospital that night but once everyone was gone and I was in that hospital room on my own I just had a little cry to myself, letting my emotions out.
“But the next day I just thought, ‘right it’s happened now and I’ve just got to crack on and try to come back stronger’. It’s so important to let your emotions out first and then crack on.”
Welbeck’s comments are a great reminder that players are humans too. Welbeck has had the unfortunate luck – but also long career – that’s included multiple knee injuries as well as various muscle injuries dating all the way back to his debut in 2008 for Manchester United.
Welbeck had a couple of decent runs after moving to Arsenal, playing 25 games in the 2014-2015 Premier League season and playing 28 games in the 2017-2018 season. But the goals were never there. He still earned call-ups to various England National Team camps, mainly because he was a striker who could pop up with a goal, stretch defenses, and would track back and work hard to defend. But ultimately, a striker needs to score goals, and he wasn’t getting enough of them.
Now, Welbeck has a fresh start with Watford. It will be interesting to see how things change under new coach Quique Sanchez Flores, but Welbeck could still make his first start against his former club, Arsenal. Asked whether it is in the stars for him to score on his first start?
“Someone said the other day that maybe the script is written for me to score my first Watford goal against Arsenal, but the script writers aren’t playing the game so I’m just going to give my best and try to win the game for Watford,” Welbeck said.