Neville marvels at United 'difference maker' - not Rooney, not RvP

Danny Welbeck

Could unheralded Manchester United attacker Welbeck have been the difference had he been selected for duty versus Liverpool?

Had Danny Welbeck featured against Liverpool during Manchester United's 3-0 humbling defeat against Liverpool then the end-result may not have been so bad, implies former Red Devils mainstay and current commentator/analyst Gary Neville, who adds that the pacey Englishman has made a difference in numerous recent games and could have provided a clear attacking threat against Brendan Rodgers' rampaging Reds.

On Wednesday evening, as United disposed of Olympiacos thanks to virtuoso performances from Robin van Persie, Ryan Giggs and David de Gea, Welbeck remained statistically unimpressive - he was successful with just one of his four tackles, made one interception, completed 50% of his dribbles and finished the match with an 85% passing accuracy, the latter a good figure - no doubt, yet perhaps obscured when he only attempted 13 (finding a team-mate with 11).

However, his general movement attracted the commendation of Neville: "You need balance in a football team and it's not necessarily always the most talented players that make the best teams," began the former captain to Sky Sports. "You need someone that provides that different edge and Danny Welbeck provides that.

"In the first game, which was terrible at Olympiakos, he made the difference and he made the difference against West Brom."

Pondering how he may have fared against Liverpool had he started the match rather than being brought on with just 14 minutes remaining and the game already lost, Neville said: "I was surprised that he didn't play on Sunday because you have to move defenders, you have to challenge behind them and there were two players on Sunday for United coming towards the ball and Liverpool just smothered them and suffocated them.

"What happened [last night] was that those Olympiakos defenders thought to themselves, 'I'm running back towards my own goal.' Even in the quarter-final last year against Real Madrid he was United's best player at the Bernabeu, absolutely the best player.

"The whole way Antonio Valencia on the right and Welbeck on the left played enabled Robin van Persie to get more into the game, we saw more of those Van Persie type runs and also Ryan Giggs connecting with him. In games like this you need that energy and pace."

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