Phil Thompson believes that it’s too soon to be anointing Danny Welbeck as the next Thierry Henry, but can see clear similarities between the Arsenal striker and the club legend he is bidding to follow in the footsteps of.
Welbeck, 23, scored just 29 goals in in 142 games at Manchester United following his first-team debut in 2008, before being deemed surplus to requirements under new manager Louis van Gaal this summer.
Sealing a £16 million move to the Emirates at the transfer deadline, the England international has since thrived while leading the line in the absence of the injured Olivier Giroud, netting a brilliant hat-trick in Wednesday’s 4-1 Champions League home win over Group D rivals Galatasaray.
Thompson concedes that it was a performance which reminded him in flashes of the famed Frenchman, and sees big things in store for the in-form marksman going forward.
‘It is too much too soon but he’s had a fantastic start to his career at Arsenal, and I think he’ll be delighted that he’s able to play as a centre-forward at last,’ he told Sky Sports News HQ.
‘As you saw with his goals and movement, he’s very Thierry Henry-like. I thought the third was just fantastic. It was a proper striker’s goal.
‘I thought he was absolutely different class.
|Vs Galatasaray, October 1, 2014||Goals||Total Shot||Shot Acc||Key Pass||Total Pass||Pass Acc||Touches||Poss Lost||Mins|
‘He’s going to get those chances now that he’s playing at Arsenal with all that creativity around him,’ he added. ‘The more that he plays the more I can see him scoring even more goals.
‘His movement is just terrific and he’s enjoying playing down the middle.
‘Playing at Manchester United, I don’t think he was as valued in that natural centre-forward position because you had Rooney, then Van Persie, and others who always came before him.
‘He had to play on the left and the right, so his goal ratio was never great there, but you see now that he’s got this opportunity with Giroud’s injury just what he can do when playing down the middle.’