Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed how Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner has become more serious about his game this season - and the Frenchman believes the youngster has what it takes to become a "top-class player" for the Arsenal.
The Gunners' boss is pleased with the progress Bendtner has made in recent weeks, despite the fact that the striker has missed some golden scoring opportunities. Against Roma in midweek he fluffed a couple of chances, once putting the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard area with the goal yawning.
However, in the same game he also impressed in a wide role, accommodating Samir Nasri's deployment in an advanced central midfield position and causing problems for the Roma defenders with his direct running.
Wenger insists that he would be more concerned if his forwards were not getting themselves into positions to score. And he said of Bendtner to journalists at his pre-match press conference on Friday, "I feel he is doing well.
"He is 20 years old, playing at the top level and creating chances. The problem at that level is if you don't create chances.
"He wants to work, he is becoming very professional. Before he was a little bit easy-going. He realises now what it takes to be a top-class player. He works very well and for me he has a bright future."
Wenger expects Bendtner to become a more clinical finisher as he gains experience, and told the Arsenal website, "I believe the most important thing when you miss a chance is to analyse why. All the rest – just let people talk. Okay... you missed a chance, go home and try to see why you missed a chance. In Bendtner’s case, his first touch was not right on the night for various reasons.
"He was not on the toes when he got the ball – that is the sort of thing he needs to analyse. He has the timing and the nous to be there but afterwards it’s a question of work.
"I have seen a lot of players who don’t score when they’re 20 but score when they’re 23."
Mark Hinton, Goal.com