Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck is three weeks away from a return to the first team after 10 months out with a knee injury, according to manager Arsene Wenger. The England international will face Brighton and Hove Albion in an Under-21 fixture on Friday [5 February] in his first match since last April.
Welbeck missed the end of the 2014-15 season with the problem and underwent surgery in September to fix the issue. However his comeback had been aborted several times due to setbacks in his recovery. Since joining the club from Manchester United in the summer of 2014, the 25-year-old has made just 18 Premier League starts.
But Wenger told reporters in a press conference to preview Arsenal's trip to AFC Bournemouth: "Danny Welbeck is playing today in the Under-21s. He needs two or three games before coming back to the first team. He has not played for 10 months. We can organise unofficial games. In the next three weeks he should be available."
Tomas Rosicky returned to Arsenal's injury list just three minutes into his comeback in the FA Cup win over Burnley, suffering a thigh injury that could prematurely end his career at the Emirates Stadium. The Czech Republic international is out of contract in the summer and is expected to miss at least the next two months. Wenger says the midfielder will not require surgery and has refused to rule out him featuring for the club again.
"I hope [it is] not [his last game] because his injury is quite serious," the Arsenal boss added. "The good news is that apparently he will not need surgery. It is a partial rupture of his tendon but how long it takes, two-three months? I don't know but of course he is shocked and he is the most shocked and we have to hope that it is not his last game. I don't to be dramatic because he has suffered enough at the moment. We are being supportive rather than dramatic."