*Flashbacks* Nicklas Bendtner 2006
Should, as is hoped, the chant, “there’s only one Nicky Bendtner,” one day resound around our new stadium, no truer words will have been sung in a football stadium.
The 17 year-old Dane is a mix between the old traditional English centre-forward and the more modern technically astute athlete of a striker. For a player who will not be 18 years of age until January, he cuts a colossal figure at over 6′ 3″, is a threat in the air but has good pace with and without the ball. Nicklas has an eye for goal and a pass and is quite possibly the quintessential all-round striker of which there are not too many, if any, of his type in the Premiership and beyond: “I think that is quite true,” he agrees.
I don’t know of every player in Europe but I cannot easily compare the way I play and what are seen to be my strengths to any player that I know of. I am quite big and strong but I like running at defenders as well as winning balls in the air but I think my main asset is my vision. I feel that I can see a pass, a run or a weakness early and that is a big advantage.
“I like to learn from all strikers and that is why I feel I have developed the way I have. I never had one player that I idolised. I know in the Arsenal matchday programme there is a section where the young players declare who their idol is and why, but I knew that I could not answer that. When I was a young kid I never had anyone’s name on the back of my shirt because there was never one player that stood out for me. I am always looking to develop every part of my game and I want every part of it to be the best it can be. I am very comfortable in life, in all aspects and that’s the way I feel I am with my football.”
The striker has already bagged 16 goals this term, nine of which were for the Reserves and has featured twice in the Carling Cup: “I had two targets at the beginning of the season. The first was to finish as top scorer in the Reserves and the second was to feature in the Carling Cup squad. Obviously the first challenge is on going. I want to score goals but if I see a player in a better position to score than I am, my instinct is to pass because the team is more important and I enjoy setting up goals too. As regards the Carling Cup, I have already come on as a substitute twice, so I have raised my targets and my aim is to now start a game in the competition this season. I never get nervous or anxious before a game, but I do get excited. Whether I am playing in the Under-18s against an inexperienced defender or with the first team against one of the best, I have the same attitude,” he reveals.
Clearly, the Danish media expects the young Gunner to be one of those international stars of the future: “There has been a lot of attention on me back home recently. That can be good and bad because sometimes all the phone calls at all times of the night can get a bit much, but I can understand it. Denmark has not had very many players playing for big clubs since the Laudrups and so the fact that I made my debut for Arsenal was big news. My aim of course is to be a success at Arsenal and that is what I am working towards, that is my priority,” insists Nicklas. “When I first arrived I didn’t expect to feature for the first team or be in the Champions League squad so early. I have progressed well since and my motivation is to do all I can to ensure that the progress continues.
Please Note: Quotes from Official Arsenal Website, Credit to the interviewer Lambros Lambrou.
Article By Matthew Collins