Nicklas Bendtner feels at home on Wearside

Nicklas Bendtner
Nicklas Bendtner
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NICKLAS Bendtner admits that life in Sunderland is a world away from the bright lights of London but insisted that he needed to move from Arsenal to pursue his ambitions.

The Danish striker has made it clear he will not return to the Gunners after his year-long loan if it is merely to warm the bench.

Bendtner says he has hardly watched Arsenal on television this season, but that he hopes his ex-team-mates overcome their difficult start to the season.

The 23-year-old, who will lead Sunderland’s attack against Stoke tomorrow, said: “It’s very different from London, but you just have to learn and adapt.

“I have rented a good house and am probably going to spend most of my time there as I did in London, and then spend time with my family when I am not playing football so it’s going to be okay.

“It’s different but I think you should be willing to adapt everywhere you go. Obviously it’s not what I’m used to but I’m sure I will have a great time here.”

Bendtner has been dogged by an interview he gave 18 months ago where he was quoted as saying he viewed himself as “one of the best strikers in the world” but that he needed to score more goals, and he was keen to set the record straight at Sunderland’s training ground in Cleadon.

He added: “What I said is that when a striker scores more than 20 goals a season then the papers are quick to say now he’s one of the best strikers in the world.

“I said I thought in my game that I can always improve but the thing that I missed that I needed to do was to score more goals.

“But it was difficult for me as I never really got a run of games so I didn’t have a chance to do that.”

Asked about possibly returning to Arsenal at the end of the season, Bendtner made it clear that he would need reassurances from Arsene Wenger about more regular appearances.

“One thing is for sure is that I want to play football, I do not want to do what I have been doing before. If it’s going to be the same way I would rather not go back (to Arsenal),” said Bendtner.

“I’ve not really seen much of their games, I’ve just seen the results. Apparently they were quite unlucky against Dortmund who scored in the last minute, but I hope they will do really well and that the young players there will have a great season.”

Bendtner has taken heart from Danny Welbeck’s loan season last year – he has now broken into the Manchester United first team, and emerged onto the senior England scene.

The Dane added: “What happened with Danny was a fantastic story – he comes here, does well and is now doing really well for Manchester United. If I can do a similar thing that would be great for me.”

John O’Shea could return to bolster Sunderland’s defence tomorrow. The Republic of Ireland defender missed the defeat by Chelsea due to a calf strain but has returned to training, while young striker Connor Wickham could make his first start since the 18-year-old’s move from Ipswich.