The name Danny Welbeck symbolises something different to almost every football fan throughout the world. With some the strikers name may bring a broad smile to their face, others may just want to cry when the Englishman’s name is read out on the teamsheet, whilst some may simply have a little chuckle to themselves. However, surely every team needs a Danny Welbeck?
Football fans whine constantly about the lack of loyalty in modern football. Contradictory to this, if a player shows loyalty but perhaps lacks the attributes to be amongst the very elite of footballers, they too also get slated. With the exception of a rarity, you cannot have both. A lot of Reds would quite happily see Welbeck nudged out the door this summer, losing a player with sheer passion and determination to play for his local boyhood club, perhaps placing him with a foreign mercenary with a big name such as Edison Cavani. That is not in the footprint of Manchester United Football Club.
The England striker was unfairly targeted by sections of England support in the build up to this summer’s World Cup and in honesty can sometimes receive the same treatment from pockets of Old Trafford on occasions. Perhaps people should pose this question to themselves, how would Robin Van Persie and Javier Hernandez perform out of position on the wing? In fact, how would Wayne Rooney perform out on the wing? Not very well judging by the evidence shown in Brazil.
This is where the 23 -year-old’s future needs to be decided. He cannot continually be played out on the flanks otherwise his career, club and national team will suffer. As much as it pains myself to use Liverpool as an example here, they halted the deployment of Daniel Sturridge’s past deployment as a wide player last season and in fairness they reaped the rewards. Welbeck actually chalked up 13 goals for both club and country last year, pretty respectable when playing predominantly out wide. During United’s Christmas schedule he was utilised in his true position as a frontman due to both Rooney and Van Persie suffering injuries. The Reds profited as the striker got 6 goals in 9 games. It is a complete myth that the number 19 cannot finish. Like every other striker the footballing world has ever seen, Welbeck needs a run of games to produce the goals that only confidence can assist him with.
United’s new manager Louis Van Gaal may present Welbeck with a huge stumbling block however. The Dutchman historically only operates with one frontman in his team, and although this can be adjusted to suit the players available, every man and his dog can see that Robin van Persie will be the 62-year-old’s main man this season. It may very well be my way or the highway under the guidance of’ ‘The Iron Tulip’, with Welbeck again forced to play out wide or sit forbearingly on the United bench craving the slightest opportunity that may come his way. Any chance of game time up top and he will have to snatch it with both hands.
It could possibly be time to sell. It certainly wouldn’t be any burden on the players career to cut his losses, bite his lip and seek challenges elsewhere. Without question Welbeck could become a talisman for a lot of Premier League sides. It may be his only option to amplify the longevity of his England career. The underlying issue here however is that United wouldn’t be sufficiently rewarded in the transfer market. With 32-year-old Rickie Lambert valued at £4 million, 26-year-old Adam Lallana valued at £25 million after just one good season, and that waste of space Andy Carroll once valued at £35 million, then what is Danny Welbeck worth at just 23-years of age? If United wanted to buy an English striker of Welbecks nature they would undoubtedly have to stump up top dollar, so why should they accept anything else when flogging one?
Moments of brilliance last season like that beautiful chipped effort away to Swansea and that dink over the keeper to top off a lovely United move away to West Brom evoke the Danny Welbeck we all know and love. Perhaps we can see more if given a proper chance. Fairly or unfairly this is a defining season in the Englishman’s Manchester United career. He either needs to be starting regularly in his best position by the end of the season or needs to reap the rewards from his fantastic experience at Old Trafford, pack his bag and search for pastures new.
With two arrivals already this summer, a foreign manager appointed for the first time in United’s history and plenty of big name signings rumoured to be on the cards, Manchester United must stick to their ethos and continue to give youth products and local lads the chance to wear that famous red shirt. Otherwise the history and meaning of this great football club will be lost and the Reds may become just any other club. Danny Welbeck symbolises what Manchester United is about, youth, desire, passion and a commitment to succeed despite not always possessing the greatest of talents. Gary Neville is a prime example and conveys the underlying factor that every club needs a Danny Welbeck.