Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Reborn Bendtner Hits Form for Danes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Reborn Bendtner Hits Form for Danes

Article excerpt

SUNDERLAND have been told to expect a revitalised Nicklas Bendtner at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, writes STUART RAYNER.

The Dane is due to make his Black Cats debut at home to Chelsea and, having seen him change physically over the summer, his international manager has seen an even more dramatic change in mentality since the 6ft 5in striker moved to Wearside. After four years' frustration on the Arsenal sidelines, Denmark manager Morten Olsen has witnessed the mental release since the slimmer Bendtner agreed a season-long loan to Sunderland shortly before last week's transfer deadline.

The 23-year-old was with his country at the time and scored twice in his first game since, their crucial European Championship qualifying win over neighbours Norway. Olsen saw it as a return to the form Bendtner showed at the time Arsne Wenger still thought he might make it as a Gunners player. "Bendtner was superb for us," Olsen said after Tuesday night's 2-0 win, which put Denmark level on points with Portugal and Norway in Group H. "It was a flashback to his performances of two or three years ago.

"During the summer he dropped five kilos but it appears his switch to Sunderland has lifted even more weight from his shoulders.

"His impact on the result can't be underestimated."

The goals were Bendtner's first at international level for six games.

His second strike in Copenhagen was a superb 25-yard effort, his first the result of good movement in the box. He was Y K aggrieved not to be handed a penalty after a challenge from Kjetil Waehler. The cocksure Bendtner has never hidden his frustration at failing to break into Arsenal's starting line-up on a regular basis. In the wake of his move to Sunderland he vowed never to return. It is four years since Bendtner played regular football, during a season-long loan at Birmingham City. Blues' manager at the time, Steve Bruce, handed him 38 league starts. …

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