Danny Welbeck’s inclusion from the start against Tottenham Hotspur last week surprised many as he wasn’t expected to return so soon after potentially needing surgery.
It was obvious he wasn’t match fit and he was taken off after 72 minutes. After the game, he admitted that his fitness wasn’t 100% in a very honest assessment of himself.
“Unfortunately, after 60 or 70 minutes, my legs were gone as it was my first game back after two months and I started cramping up,” he said.
“I wanted to get the winner, but it didn’t come this time. I need a couple more games. I have been out for two months and you need some games and more hard training sessions to get back into it.”
So, why did David Moyes choose to start an unfit striker out of position on the left wing against Everton only a week after he admitted he wasn’t match fit? Especially when United had two natural wingers in Adnan Januzaj and Nani who were both fit and ready to start.
Moyes likely gave Welbeck the nod to aid Patrice Evra defensively down the left but even then, Rooney often found that Evra was further forward than Welbeck in a complete role reversal. It put Welbeck unnecessarily in the firing line and, unsurprisingly, he wasn’t at his best.
Two years ago against Everton, Rooney and Welbeck gave them nightmares together but that was a completely different Welbeck yesterday. He shouldn’t have started. The fact that United’s attacking impetus changed dramatically when Nani and Januzaj came on is a testament to that.
If Longsight born Welbeck hadn’t come through our academy, would he be so stoutly defended? That is up for debate. Up until this point, I have stood firmly in Welbeck’s corner but performances like last night can’t happen any more.
Just like Moyes has left Van Persie out of the firing line until he is fully fit again, he needs to do the same with Welbeck. We’ve got wingers aplenty in the side and Javier Hernandez is chomping at the bit for a starting berth, so keep Welbeck away until he can come back and recapture the form he showed at the start of the season before injuries curtailed his progress.