Danny Welbeck credits building up his mental strength for helping him force his way into England’s World Cup squad.
Welbeck will be heading to this summer’s tournament in Russia and has more reason than most to look forward to it, having missed out on Euro 2016 due to a knee injury which ended up sidelining him for eight months.
The Arsenal forward admits his lay-off was a major setback, both professionally and psychologically, but has emerged with a measured outlook that could serve him well as England take on the world in Russia.
“Missing out on the last tournament with injury was frustrating for me,” he said.
“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.
“But there are things you can take from it, learn from it, learn about yourself. You can develop mentally when you away from the pitch. You can take all that frustration, pain and hurt from not playing football and try and use that as a way of helping you and reminding you of what you are missing out on.”
Now fully fit, Welbeck’s next challenge will be finding a way into Gareth Southgate’s side.
He has made just three substitute appearances under Southgate, totalling less than 45 minutes of football, and will be hoping to add to that when Nigeria visit Wembley on Saturday.
Despite that he remains the top scorer in the squad, with 15 strikes in 37 caps, indicating an apparent comfort with the rhythms of the international game.
“I haven’t pointed that out to him the manager, he knows all the ins and outs but that is something I want to build on,” he said.
“I have had a lot of success on the international stage and I want that to continue. I won’t be resting on my laurels.”