Welbeck’s dilemma



Danny Welbeck is conflicted. No, not the choice Manchester United’s 20-year-old striker has between England and Ghana – surely any sane footballer would have chosen the West African World Cup quarter-finalists – but that of his club future. Welbeck, recently returned from a two month spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, must decide whether to stay at Old Trafford next season or seek another move out on loan. It is a choice that could define a career.

Sir Alex Ferguson, long a vocal admirer on the Longsight-born striker, says that Welbeck will return to Old Trafford after an “excellent” season on-loan at Steve Bruce’s Sunderland. The forward has scored six Premier League goals in 26 appearances, often from a wide position that demonstrates not only the player’s potential but flexibility to boot. It’s a quality that is highly admired by Ferguson.

Yet Welbeck could find himself one of six front-line strikers at Untied next season, potentially behind Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernández, Dimitar Berbatov and Federico Macheda in the pecking order. That is without factoring in Bébé and Gabriel Obertan or the – admittedly remote – possibility that Michael Owen may sign a new one-year contract.

By contrast Welbeck admits he has made rapid progress under Bruce’s tutelage. Not least because when fit the youngster has played more often that not. There’s nothing like experience to accelerate the development curve in a raw player.

“I am delighted with my progress,” says Welbeck.

“[Making an England début] was invaluable in terms of my progress and I’ll take that in my stride. It is nothing to sit on because I’ve not done anything at all yet and I’m really looking to push on and keep improving as a player.

“I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made this season and I feel being at Sunderland this season has really helped me. The manager, Steve Bruce, and coaching staff have been really terrific and I’ve learnt a lot.”

Welbeck’s England début marked another destination in a sometimes rocky road the striker has travelled. Long admired at Old Trafford, Welbeck has suffered both from injury and growth spurts that hampered his development. At times devastatingly inventive and skillful; on other occasions seemingly ill at ease in his own body.

The best of Welbeck was arguably seen at Stamford Bridge earlier this season when the 20-year-old, in tandem with Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan, was instrumental in the Wearsiders’ 3-0 win over Chelsea. It was a performance that demonstrated both Welbeck’s appreciation of his teammates, the geometry of football and his goalscoring prowess.

The latter is, of course, an area in which Welbeck must develop if he is to force his way into both the England and United teams on a more permanent basis. The striker’s six goals this season represent decent progress but nothing more than that. The forward has just five goals in 24 appearances in a United shirt, while at international youth level the striker has scored at less than one in three games in the under-17, under-19 and under-21 age groups.

Meanwhile his club manager Bruce was understandably delighted for the player, not least because Welbeck played for the under-21s last Thursday too. The international minutes should accelerate the striker’s return Sunderland’s first team picture, if not help Bruce’s long-held wish to take Welbeck to the Stadium of Light permanently.

“It was great news for Sunderland, and for the boy who really deserves the accolades,” 50-year-old Bruce told TalkSport.

“It’s testament to what he’s achieved since being here We’ll try our best [to get him] but Manchester United have got another really, really good fantastic player and it’s not often you can buy a very good young player off anybody.

“I need to go and get Sir Alex and get few bottles of red wine down him. Before he got injured a couple of months ago he had seven goals in nine appearances and was starting to produce performances which were way above his age.”

Not that Sunderland would be the only suitors should Ferguson allow Welbeck to move on, either on loan or permanently. Indeed, recent tabloid newspaper reports have mooted Welbeck as a make-weight in United’s long-running pursuit of Everton’s midfielder Jack Rodwell.

Indeed, leaving Old Trafford on loan afforded Welbeck an opportunity to play that would not have been so at United this season, especially with Hernández’ rapid development and Berbatov’s goalscoring. It is a dilemma that Welbeck may need to overcome again this summer: return to Old Trafford and be part of a squad system, or leave on loan and continue to progress.

It is a choice that will define a players short and long-term future.

Share Button

Comments

  1. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    I’d like to keep him, but I think he’ll move on… and the Everton swap for Rodwell, sounds like a logical option.
    United need a midfielder, Everton need a striker… and a trade would suit our new financial policy.
    I’d really like to see him get a few games in tandem with Rooney though… just a gut feeling but, I think they’d have real chemistry.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  2. I must admit Welbeck has impressed me this year. I knew he was talented, but I didn’t think he had the application, he’s proved me wrong – it just shows you what can happen with regular first team football in the PL.

    Can’t see Fergie letting him leave. It’s possible he may go out on loan again. I think Fergie knows he’s a gem. Just look at our other options after Roo, Chico and Berba… We have Owen (probably leaving), Macheda (not progressing) and Diouf (dosent seem CL quality).

    Plus I like the idea of having mancunians in the squad.

  3. If Welbeck returns he will be the 4th striker, but also can be deployed as a winger/forward in the 4-5-1 formation. For that role he will 5th choice.

    Its a similar situation for Cleverley too if he returns as he will be 5th in the pecking order for centre midfield and 5th choice for a role on the wing (left wing 3rd).

    If they both return it will at least make competition for places tight.

  4. Is he really that good

    Does he have the x factor like Knobhead claims

  5. He’s definitely shown enough for me to want to hang on to him next season. As Bill says, he’ll be the 4th choice striker and a have a shot on the wings too (depending on who else we might buy). An injury or two and he could see consistent PL appearances, and of course he’ll be training with the first team.

    I reckon we’re looking to sell Diouf, give Macheda another loan, and bring Welbeck back to see how he does. Things can change though, if Welbeck becomes the makeweight in a deal Fergie really wants, he could let him go.

  6. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Bill said:
    If Welbeck returns he will be the 4th striker, but also can be deployed as a winger/forward in the 4-5-1 formation. For that role he will 5th choice.

    Its a similar situation for Cleverley too if he returns as he will be 5th in the pecking order for centre midfield and 5th choice for a role on the wing (left wing 3rd).

    If they both return it will at least make competition for places tight.

    Cleverly has a much better chance than Welbeck… Cleverly has the weakest part of the team to break into…

  7. I will be gutted if we get rid. No matter who we are getting from wherever. He is home grown and we need quite a few of those. And, he is good and will become very good as he stays at our club. Same for Kiko too. These lads will form a very good partnership for us in the future. I have a feeling that Rooney will not stay long at our club and even if he does he will go back into midfield to prompt and probe. So, we will be well served by these two players if they stay injury free and progress the way they have been.

    I think we should have learnt from the experience of Pique.

    • Pique wouldn’t survive in the PL, playing for this shambolic United side.

      He’s good at Barcelona because of the players in front of him who press relentlessly.

  8. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    I don’t think Macheda will make it.

  9. Utd need to let welbeck go out on loan again next year to develop properly, maybe a frazier campbell type deal if a move for rodwell is true, thus welbeck going to everton for a year.

    Its better for both parties as there will not be such pressure on welbeck to be a superstar and everyweek, plus utd eventually may have a genuine homegrown striker for once who can make the grade.

    Guiseppe rossi anyone? There is no point letting him rot in the carling cup again

  10. herbie simms says:

    Wellbeck, Diouf, Macheda, Owen, Obertan and Bebe. Should be able to fetch about 35 million in total for the sale of these players.

    • Mongoletsi says:

      Wellbeck – £8m
      Macheda – £6m
      Obertan – £2-4
      Diouf – £2m
      Bebe – ???
      Owen – Zero

      Your maths is… interesting, mate.

  11. wtf herbie

    anyway, i can’t see any good reason to let welbeck go. surely, owen will be let go, and diouf will be sold. welbeck is far ahead of macheda in terms of development, so he’d be the logical 4th choice striker after rooney, berba and chicharito. he’d get plenty of games even next season, but i wouldn’t mind him going out on loan once again.
    i wouldn’t swap him for rodwell or henderson.

  12. Obviously we will buy a decent keeper.
    Money wise if Welbeck was swapped for either Henderson or Rodwell that would free quite a lot of dosh which ….could …. be used to buy a really top class creative midfielder, possibly in the Sneijder class. This would depend on SAF thinking that Macheda can cut the mustard; doubtful.

  13. Macheda is on the bubble, its a big season for him next season. He’s had a knack of popping up and scoring important goals so could be an impact sub.

    Welbeck will get about 10-15 starts next season, will a similar amount from the bench unless he really shines or there are injuries.

    Cleverley does have the midfield to break into, but he will placed behind Fletcher and Anderson in the energetic midfield role, and behind Nani and Giggs for the left wing slot. Will probably have a similar existence to Welbeck.

    Its whether they can hang in there and wait their turn with Scholes and Giggs close to retirement and injures always a factor at OT.

  14. Alfie,
    In my view, in terms of ability and x-factor, Kiko Macheda is nailed on to make it at a big clubside!! He has the lot. He just needs games and coaching. This season, his absolutely spectacular strike at Villa Park is so criminally forgotten. He and Welbeck should just be allowed to stay on. They will play games and be successful.

  15. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    CaL… that goal at Villa was the ONLY thing of note he’s done… all players at this level have one of those in them once in a while…

    Welbeck… WILL make it at a midtable side… and MIGHT make it at a top club like United.

    I don’t think Macheda will make it beyond midtable… he’s young, and still got time, but from what I’ve seen… I don’t think so…

  16. dingleberry says:

    i wish people would stop saying macheda has a knack for scoring important goals or he has done well but needs games … he has been absolute toss except for THAT goal. and he has plenty of opportunity, i put welbeck ahead of him all day long. cant even get into sampdoria team …

    diouf, macheda, owen, gibson, brown – all can go.

    keeper (de gea or stekenlenebeuergeg) and rodwell and maybe Ashley Young – think that will be all that comes in other than a couple of really young players (i.e. rafael leao and henriquez mentioned today)

  17. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    if we sell welbeck theres no point ever having a youth system, hes the best weve brought through since scholes and that lot and the first striker weve brought through whos much cop since hughes, hes done loads of xfactory stuff for us and sunderland and preston

  18. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    CaL… that goal at Villa was the ONLY thing of note he’s done… all players at this level have one of those in them once in a while…

    Welbeck… WILL make it at a midtable side… and MIGHT make it at a top club like United.

    I don’t think Macheda will make it beyond midtable… he’s young, and still got time, but from what I’ve seen… I don’t think so…

    Alf, I am not talking about THAT goal at Old Trafford. I mean the violent shot at Villa Park THIS season before Vida got us level. A fantastic strike from the edge of the area completely out of nothing that. My point exactly: that goal has been largely ignored this season. He came on in place of Berbatov and helped galvanise us in a match we were going to lose. He is as good as Welbeck. The Englishman is certainly not better in my view.

    Am with Knobby in that should we allow these two players to go then we might as well shut down the youth team.

  19. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    nah welbecks much better than macheda, and hes better at football than owen and hernandez and a bigger threat that berbacunt, machedas nothing special, hed wanna go to one of the big itie clubs if he ever became any good anyway, he probably already does

  20. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    CaL… that goal at Villa was the ONLY thing of note he’s done… all players at this level have one of those in them once in a while…

    You’ve clearly forgotten about Valencia away…but yes Welbeck > Macheda

  21. they both wont make it

  22. ltel said:
    they both wont make it

    That’s it folks. The all knowing and all seeing One has written. Read, Kiko and Danny, and weep.

  23. ltel said:
    they both wont make it

    Agreed. Some people get far to sentimental just cozz they’ve played once or twice.

    Can’t see either of them ever playing for United again let alone regulars.

  24. they might not make it, but welbeck has definitely shown enough to warrant several chances. AND he’s homegrown and english. local kid too.
    what knobhead says is right, if you’re not going to give him a chance, might as well scrap the youth system.

  25. Welbeck and Macheda will come back off loan and fight for their place next season, the same goes for Cleverley. Next season will be big for all of them.

    I just don’t see the point in bringing any extra young project players in the transfer market when those 3 and the likes of King, Morrison, Pogba and Tunnicliffe are waiting in the wings.

Speak Your Mind

*