Despite Manchester United’s underwhelming first half of the season, there have been a few positives for the United fans to look at.
Danny Welbeck is currently United’s second highest scorer this season with eight league goals to his name.
This is a vast improvement on his form last year and can probably be attributed to the part that he has played this season, having been given the chance to play in his more favoured role down the centre of attack in place of the injured Robin Van Persie.
His record last season for a side that won the league was indescribably poor for such a talented player. Managing just two goals in 40 appearances throughout the season was a disappointing return to say the least.
It is though worth mentioning the part in which Welbeck was asked to play last year. Seventeen of those appearances were as a sub in the last quarter of a game. But it was Alex Ferguson’s decision to play Welbeck in a wider role that restricted him to as many goal scoring opportunities.
As a player who rarely escapes the wrath of critics, it will be his lack of goals that are the key reason for people castigating him. He may not be a world class ‘striker’ but his contribution can often be overlooked because of the lack of potency in front of goal.
It is worth noting the sheer amount of graft that Welbeck puts into a football match. He tracks back for his team regularly and possesses an astonishing drive and determination.
Welbeck is devoted to making the opposition feel uncomfortable and he harasses and intimidates opposing players when they are in possession. And on so many occasions throughout a match this leads to rushed decisions and the handing of possession back to United.
Stats don’t do Welbeck any favours but you have to look closer to discover his key attributes and how valuable they are to Man Utd and England.
In what would ultimately turn out to be England’s final appearance at Euro 2012, it was hard to single out any one player who performed exceptionally for the Three Lions. And in no way did Welbeck stand out as a key performer. However, for such a toothless performance by England, Welbeck seemed to be the only man in a white shirt that was trying to give the Italians a hard time during his 60 minutes on the field.
It’s just as unfair on Welbeck to call him a striker as it is to chastise him for his lack of goals. His commitment goes well beyond that of the average Premier League forward, and his graft provides others with the opportunity to make something happen.
That is not to say that Welbeck hasn’t the ability nor the talent to be a prolific goalscorer in the future, but when he shares the playing field with the likes of Rooney and Van Persie his hard work can easily be overlooked.
His role should never solely be looked at as to provide the team with goals, because he isn’t that sort of player. His willingness to be involved and work hard for the team is a quality which can be indispensable to a side, and that is just what he is.
This isn’t a case of effort compensating for lack of talent. Welbeck is a top player and will be a very important asset to United for years to come.
image: © vagueonthehow