Bendtner: Injuries stifled my Arsenal progression

Wolfsburg striker Nicklas Bendtner believes a succession of injuries stifled his progression at Arsenal.

The 27-year-old has struggled to adapt to the Bundesliga since leaving the Gunners for Die Wölfe at the start of the season, making 18 bit-part league outings in a campaign that has seen him play second fiddle to 17-goal Bas Dost.

However, despite the problems that have afflicted his career thus far, the Dane is adamant that he is still enjoying the game as much as ever.

He says: “I still love football, but it can be difficult to love where you are in your career.

“I wish I hadn’t been injured so much, because I think my career could have looked very different. When you move a lot between teams and countries, it can be tough to adapt at first.”

I wish I hadn’t been injured so much, because I think my career could have looked very different

Bendtner is no stranger to making headlines for the wrong reasons, but, although he acknowledges that poor behaviour warrants negative press, he believes footballers are unjustly treated.

“In a way, [footballers] are treated unfairly,” he claims. “I don’t think people should be held to what they said nine years ago, for example.

“On the other hand, we have a responsibility to our clubs as well. But we all make mistakes, and sometimes we’re provoked.

"For example, if I’m in a bar, a club or a restaurant, people might hit me in the back, or throw something at me. I know that if I react, I’ll be in the paper.

"That has happened to me on numerous occasions – far more often than it is ever written about.”

The Danish striker made headlines during Euro 2012 after being fined for advertising the betting company Paddy Power on his boxer shorts, but he remained coy when asked what message he would have on his underwear now.

“I can’t tell you [what message I’d have on my boxers] as it would probably be too much for some people. They’d be offended, and I can understand that as it would definitely be offensive!”

Interview: Titus Chalk. Words: Ben Cullimore