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Nicklas Bendtner haunted by own claim of 'world's best striker', Wenger hopes he can revive his career

Nicklas Bendtner Nottingham Forest
Nicklas Bendtner now plays in the Championship with Nottingham Forest
Rohith Nair
Modified 20 Sep 2016, 14:08 IST

A few years ago, a young Nicklas Bendtner gave an interview and claimed he wanted to be the best striker in the world. The former Arsenal man was always in the news for the wrong reasons and his performances did not exactly light up the Premier League.

The Gunners eventually opted to not extend his contract and he soon moved to Wolfsburg, who have in turn discarded him after two seasons. Now, the 28-year-old Danish striker is looking to revive his career in the Championship with Nottingham Forest. 

“I pictured my career going in a different way, but it didn’t,” Bendtner said. “So I’m going to make the best out of the rest of my career and do the best I can. There are many goals I have set myself over the years. Many things I have said and been killed for.

“I actually don’t regret saying I want to be the best striker in the world because that’s what everyone wants,” he continued. “It’s just that no one wants to say it. It has haunted me.”

While Bendtner has done reasonably well for Denmark, his club career did not pan out the way he would have liked with injuries and negative media attention for incidents outside night clubs, a car crash and disorderly conduct lead to him being released by Arsenal.

“I remember all of it,” he said, recalling the car crash. “How the airbags hit me and stuff. It was a big moment and if I hadn’t worn my seatbelt I wouldn’t be here today.”

Wenger hopes Bendtner can revive his career at Forest

The Gunners will go head-to-head with Bendtner when they play Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night. And Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hopes the striker seizes the opportunity to stamp his mark on the game and ensure he has a stable career. 

Arsenal Arsene Wenger Nicklas Bendtner
Bendtner spent many years at Arsenal under Wenger but failed to impress to get a contract extension

“It was a surprise to me that Nicklas signed for Nottingham Forest,” Wenger said. “But at some stage, Nicklas needs to restart his career.

“Sometimes when you are a player of his quality, you just need an opportunity. We know his qualities and he is a top-quality player, but he needs to play.

“ Of course, he has a point to prove,” Wenger added. “He's playing at a level where he is not used to. But he did start his career at this level at Birmingham City with Steve Bruce, where he did very well.”

The French manager also defended Bendtner’s attitude and character when he was asked whether the player was often misunderstood. 

“The perceptions people have of him is that he is overconfident, but I don't think so,” he explained. “I felt that he had good periods in his career, and then periods when it went less well for him.

“He could explain it better as to how he assesses his career because he is an honest guy.”

Published 20 Sep 2016, 13:46 IST
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