Nicklas Bendtner insists his recent career struggles haven’t phased him, and maintains that accusations he suffers from an inflated ego are wide of the mark.
A divisive figure among football fans, Bendtner scored just twice in 12 games for the Gunners last season, having spent the prior two campaigns on loan at Sunderland and Juventus after falling out of favour with Arsene Wenger.
Once considered the club’s most exciting prospect, he had been a regular fixture in the first-team from 2007 to 2010 but failed to live up to the high expectations due to various off-field antics overshadowing his accomplishments, netting 47 times in 171 total appearances during his time in north London.
Signing for Wolfsburg in August after leaving the Emirates on a free transfer this summer, the Danish striker hasn’t hit the back of the net at either the club level or for the national team since grabbing the opener in a 2-0 Premier League win over Cardiff City on January 1, but is confident he will soon rediscover his scoring touch.
‘I think I’ve always had a healthy humility. It may well be that I have not always shown it, but I think it's always been fine,’ he told newspaper BT ahead of Denmark’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Portugal.
‘The situation in Juventus was that I played 10 matches and got injured, and I didn’t play again that season. Then I went back to Arsenal, but managed to score two goals in a few appearances.
‘Then I didn’t play in the last six months, and now I have started at a new club where you naturally have to get used to it all. For me it is normal to need some time.
‘When I was at Sunderland I was top scorer, had played fine with the national team and had played a great club season and had many great clubs to choose from.
‘I chose Juventus, where the injury of course happened, and so there was all this b******* at Arsenal, as they would neither sell me nor let me play. I could not do anything about, so it's a different situation, and I think I have developed both as a player and person in all that time.’
Despite mounting criticism, Bendtner hasn’t paid much attention to what has been written about him in the press, and thinks the qualities he brings to the pitch shouldn’t be in doubt.
‘I do not know what you expect. You have your opinions and I have mine. I think I've proved I can score goals ad nauseam,’ he said.
‘Every time I have not scored in four-five games, we talk always about why I have not scored. There are many factors in having to score, and we have seen many top scorers who have had troubles.
‘I'm usually quite brilliant beyond when I'm injured, and I do not think that this way of looking at things is going to disappear. You choose what you want to affect your life, and there's nothing to damage or anything else that can get me down.
‘People I do not know cannot hurt me. They cannot hurt me, because I have nothing to do with it,’ he added.
‘The journalists' job is to have an opinion; I respect that, although I may disagree. As a rule, I'm always happy. There are many things [going on] in one’s life all the time, but I see just positive things.’