NICKLAS Bendtner says his views over his future at Sunderland have been lost in translation.
In interviews given in his home country earlier this month, the Danish striker was quoted saying he wanted to be playing Champions League football next season – an ambition which would seem to rule him out of any prolonged stay at the Stadium of Light.
But this week at the Academy, the on-loan 23-year-old Arsenal man insisted those putting two and two together and insisting there’s no way he’ll be at Sunderland next season have got it wrong.
“I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m very keen to play in the Champions League again,” he said.
“But I also read that I’d said if I don’t play in the Champions League, I won’t be playing for Sunderland.
“That’s not the case, but that’s how they mis-interpret Danish into English.
“As a player, you should have ambition – I’m sure every player you speak to wants to play in the Champions League.
“But I haven’t ruled out staying at Sunderland.
“As I’ve said before, I just want to enjoy the year I have here and then see what happens in the summer.”
Bendtner has assumed a big responsibility with the Black Cats, being the side’s out-and-out striker and the key outlet for every long ball forward, but that’s not a concern for him as much as the need to improve on a record of two goals in eight Premier League games.
“I am enjoying being the focal point,” he said. “I don’t mind that at all.
“But as well as you can sit and talk about things here, people will always look at how many goals you have scored.
“They don’t look at your overall play.
“I have sort of realised that all people are concerned about is goals, goals, goals.
“You can play horrific but if you score goals it doesn’t matter.
“That’s very new to me.
“I tend to look at my overall play, so it’s a new mentality.”
Bendtner is nothing if not confident, though, and is convinced he’ll score more than his fair share of goals this season.
“There’s definitely more to come, 100 per cent,” he said.
“I think that it’s going to be a natural development going forward because it has been a while since I played.
“But I’m seeing the signs, especially when I was away with the international team.
“It’s going really well, so I just want to win a few more games and add to my goal tally.
“I always knew it would be better to play as many games as I could – no player is happy when they are on the bench.
“That’s why I’m happy to be here playing football and helping Sunderland do well.”