Analysis: How Welbeck can keep Rooney glued to the bench

Danny Welbeck demonstrated on Saturday that he’s tactically good enough to keep Wayne Rooney on the bench for most of the season if he stays at the club.

Few probably would have been expecting Welbeck to have the impact he did against Swansea City, as Manchester United eventually romped to a 4-1 win after a shaky start to the match.

Welbeck was named alongside the ever reliable Robin van Persie, in a more suited attacking position, as opposed to being stuck out on the left where he played for the majority of last season.

There were plenty of examples from Welbeck where he’s clearly been working hard with David Moyes on his game over the summer and while he still occasionally drifted left, the signs are all very good.

He resisted that urge to drift very well, staying in a central position which allows him to utilise his natural assets like pace and power much more effectively, getting into the opposition box where he’s more likely to score goals.

The most impressive thing about Welbeck’s game was his link up play. For most of the match he was playing on the shoulder of the defence, which sometimes makes it difficult for strikers to get their foot on the ball and pass well because they’re always looking to get onto a pass over making one.

However, Welbeck always turned his back to goal at the right time and had a passing success rate of 84% throughout the match, which shows when he did get on the ball, he didn’t really give it away.

Another impressive aspect of his game is how he’s now reading various situations.

Welbeck showed perfectly when to resist the urge to drop off into midfield to try and get a feel for the ball and when to stay glued to the centre backs, pushing them back and preventing them from moving forward.

This enabled the likes of Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick to get more time on the ball and stopped the Swansea defence from moving out of position to try and intercept when van Persie was slightly deeper in his own attacking role.

There is still a very good chance that Rooney may leave the club this summer, especially if Chelsea dangle an attractive carrot but even if that happens, Welbeck has every skill needed to compensate for his absence.

The main job now for the England forward is consistency and being able to score a very high volume of goals over the coming weeks.

He’s going to be seriously tested against other sides that will be wiser to how he’s currently playing and there may come a point in the season where he has to reinvent himself again.

What did you make of Welbeck’s performance against Swansea?

image: © vagueonthehow

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