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Danny Welbeck will play in England’s third and final group match tonight against the Czech Republic in a must win game if England are to qualify for the semi-finals. The Manchester born striker is one of England and Manchester United‘s hottest striking prospects and Pearce has singled out the ‘sensational Welbeck’ as his trump card in the build-up to the crunch match tonight. So, the question begs, does Welbeck deserve to be given game time in line of the up and coming new Premier League season? According to Danny, SAF has all but guaranteed Danny that he will have playing time to prove himself next year, which is good news for the 20 year old striker but will he be able to grasp his opportunities and establish himself as a United front man?
The first thing to note is how impressive Danny looked whilst on loan last season for Sunderland. In 26 first team appearances he managed to knock in 6 goals but it was the progression of his whole game which impressed me most, not least in the game against Chelsea. The 3-0 drumming of the Rentboys on their own turf by Sunderland goes down as one of the performances of the season and throughout the whole game, Welbeck had great desire and movement all over the pitch.
Welbeck passes vs Chelsea
As you can see from the left chalkboard, Danny wasn’t your typical stationary centre-forward and he ran around the pitch looking to make the passes, going as far back as the holding midfield position and making a successful pass. In terms of percentages, in this game against Chelsea he had 71% which is nothing overly impressive yet at the same time considering the context of a lot of his passes, he performed well under the harrowing pressure of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It is a part of his game I have definitely noticed in the U21 European Championships as well. His desire to have the ball pushes him to chase lost causes and running down the defence is a great characteristic for any striker to have, something which Hernandez has shown to have a great impact in front of the United faithful this season.
Welbeck tackles vs Chelsea
However, it is not just with passing and movement that Welbeck contributes to the overall successes of his team as the chalkboard on the right will show you. Regardless of the success rate of his tackles, the fact that Danny gets back in front of his defence to even attempt a tackle is a testament to his ability to get back to help his team. Many lackadaisical strikers in the Premier League will simply stay up front and wait for the team to bring the ball to them (take a look below at Drogba’s chalkboard from the same fixture) but you can tell what youthful desire Danny has as it is emulated in his game. This is something that would be welcome at United without question but would there be space for the young striker in the squad next season?
Drogba tackles vs Sunderland
Javier Hernandez took the globe by storm as he fired in 20 goals in his debut season at Old Trafford, a move which freed up Wayne Rooney to establish himself as an archetypal No.10 man, a role he relished in the latter part of the season. Michael Owen was also rewarded for his hard work during the season with a 1 year contract extension. Dimitar Berbatov had his best season in a United shirt as he scored 21 league goals and scooped up the coveted Premier League golden boot award but with his agent claiming that United have not opened negotiations with the Bulgarian about a new contract, there is questionable doubt over the future of Berbatov who has struggled since the start to the win over the hearts of United fans. Where does this leave Danny? For me, it leaves him in a perfect position.
Looking at him in the U21 Championships, he looks to have shaken off the injury that kept him out of the end part of the season at Sunderland and he looks like a hot property that could flourish at United next season. Combining Welbeck with the acquisition of Jones and Smalling over the past 2 summers, as well as Tom Cleverley (who I will be writing an extended piece on after tonight’s match against the Czech Republic), United have an absolutely fantastic spine of English youth that can be injected into the team. They won’t all be making that many first team appearances in the Premier League and Champions League but I would say that United will look extremely strong in the domestic competitions, which is where it is most likely we will get to see what Danny has to offer. All in all I think Danny Welbeck will be presented with his greatest chance to show SAF what he can bring to the table and in all honesty, I really think he will deliver and considering the rotational policy that SAF has always held, Danny will get his chances in the bigger games as well. Looking forward to seeing what you can do for us Danny and good luck in the game tonight. Thoughts and comments welcome below.