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Why Welbeck simply has to start against Italy

by Nicolas Berg

Roy Hogdson has several options in terms of how to shuffle his deck of attacking players with the likes of Rooney, Lallana, Sterling, Lambert, Sturridge and Welbeck able to play in the front line.

One option Hodgson has is to have Welbeck as an impact player coming off the bench but how good is he in that role?

Welbeck has, by the end of the 2013/14 campaign, played 136 games for Manchester United. With those games and the stats from them taken into account, we’ve had a closer look on whether there is any point at all to play Welbz as a fringe player.

The next goal the local lad scores for United will eventually be his 30th. We all remember his absolute screamer against Stoke in his league debut but how many other goals have come from him when he hasn’t started the actual game?

In his first season, 08/09, he scored three goals from his 13 apperances and two of them game in his five games as a substitute. Six seasons later (mind he was loaned out to Sunderland during 10/11, so only five of them have been at United), he still is yet to beat his tally of two substitute goals in one season.

His third goal from the bench came in October 2011 against Norwich City when he replaced Javier Hernández. At this point of his career, he had already scored the majority of his substitute goals for United. March 2014 saw the Mancunian score his final goal from the bench thus far when.

In other words, Welbeck has scored 24 of his 29 United goals when starting the actual game, and his 47 substitute appearances have only yielded five successful strikes. The easy conclusion to draw from this is that Hodgson should either play Dat Guy as a key player in the starting line-up or don’t play him at all.

That being said, the situation is a little more complicated as the fringe player role is completely unfamiliar to Rickie Lambert. If those are the options, as Rooney and Sturridge are starting up front, Hodgson is apparently left with no good impact strikers at all. Nonetheless, Welbz is far from prolific after coming on towards the end of a game, something which Hodgson should take into account.

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