So who should start for England? Sterling vs Welbeck stats analysis

Raheem Sterling

The two youngsters are fighting over the England left midfield position, but should that place go to the Liverpool or Manchester United man?

It seems as if one of the remaining contested positions in England's World Cup team is the leftwing spot.

Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Liverpool's Raheem Sterling are the two most fancied options for Roy Hodgson, with the latter man in particular enjoying an excellent season at Anfield.

Hodgson seemed to indicate a willingness to go with Danny Welbeck, allocating the Manchester United man a squad number of 11, while Sterling was given 19.

But with Welbeck still preferring a more central attacking position, and struggling to influence from the left, Sterling will be hoping to come in and claim the spot for his own.

David Moyes played Welbeck on the wing for much of Manchester United's disappointing season, so comparing the two players may well indicate who should start against Italy on June 14th. 

  TeamGoalsmins / Goalsmins / Goal Assistmins / Accurate CrossAppsMins
Raheem Sterling Liverpool 9 246.44 443.60 221.80 33 2,218
Danny Welbeck Man Utd 9 162.11 1,459.00 1,459.00 25 1,459

Both Welbeck and Sterling managed to score 9 goals this season in the Premier League. Welbeck scored some of his goals from a central position, but Sterling played significantly more minutes. This leaves Welbeck with a much healthier minutes per goal total. What is striking is that this is the only statistic the United man beats his compatriot in. Sterling has significantly better minutes per assist, as well as a much stronger ratio of accurate crosses, proving that he is a more effective and traditional winger. 

  Teammins / Duel Wonmins / Beaten Dribblemins / Accurate Passmins / Unsuccessful TouchAppsMins
Raheem Sterling Liverpool 10.66 24.11 2.91 54.10 33 2,218
Danny Welbeck Man Utd 18.47 69.48 3.19 37.41 25 1,459

Though he was playing in a better team at Liverpool, Sterling seized his chance and played as big a part as most in the Reds' success this season. He beats Welbeck hands down in key categories such as ability to win duels for possession, successfully dribbling past opponents, making accurate passes and avoiding losing possession through a poor touch.

Welbeck is essentially a centre forward who can play wide with some degree of success, while Sterling is a more conventional winger. The stats show that the only thing Welbeck has on Sterling is as a goal scorer. This isn't to say Sterling doesn't have this in his locker, as the 9 goals over the 19-year-old's second full Premier League season proves. The Liverpool man is more creative, more combative and more skilful than Welbeck, and it goes without saying then that he should at the very least be given a chance in the two remaining friendlies. 

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