Of those 36 appearances, 12 came from the bench and in another 11, the 23-year-old was played out of position, out on the left flank.
Hence, it does not come as a surprise to hear that Welbeck might be contemplating his United future. A ‘club insider’ told The Sun that the youngster was disappointed that David Moyes “failed to use him in an attacking capacity more often” last term.
Welbeck himself described the the 2013/14 campaign as his “unhappiest season, without a doubt”.
Even though United have witnessed a managerial change, Welbeck’s latest quotes suggest he could be on his way out of Manchester if Louis van Gaal doesn’t give him a central attacking role.
WELBECK ON THE WAY OUT? "I'd rather not answer that question," says United striker. #ManUtd— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) May 25, 2014
“I’d like to play centrally,” he said. “I’ve been playing on the left for a while and it’s got to the time when I want to stake a place up front.”
He is particularly concerned when United play a 4-4-2 formation. “It depends what formation we are playing. On the left of a four-man midfield there are a lot more defensive duties so you can’t find the time to keep attacking. But if you’re on the left of a 4-3-3, I find that position really good...” Welbeck claimed.
Van Gaal is unlikely to play a 4-4-2 formation and will probably go with a three-man midfield, exactly what Welbeck wants.
But the issue here is that, If van Gaal plays a 4-3-3, for the striker role, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney will be ahead of Welbeck in the pecking order. And for the left-wing role, United currently have Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata (possibly as an inside forward), Wilfried Zaha, Luis Nani and Ashley Young.
In case the latter two (or three) are sold, van Gaal will bring in replacements. So Welbeck will find it really hard to get regular playing time.
In case van Gaal deploys a 3-5-2 formation, Welbeck will be behind Rooney, van Persie, Shinji Kagawa (who is likely to stay at United) and Mata in the pecking order to play as one of the two attackers up front.
At 23, Welbeck will risk stagnating his growth if he continues his career at the Theater of Dreams. He is a talented striker and if given the required freedom and optimum playing time, Welbeck can develop into a very good player.
He started as a striker on eight occasions last season and ended up notching five goals and an assist. Moreover, the Englishman had a better conversion rate than Rooney and van Persie.
What Welbeck needs is more playing time. With United out of the Champions League, the lad will only see less of the football pitch and more of the bench. He could move to a club like Tottenham Hotspur where the England international will be a starter.