What to do with Danny Welbeck
The 22-year-old Manchester and England forward has been in and out of the side this season following the marquee signing of Robin van Persie and looks to have lost the impetus of last season’s run in the side.
Some believe he has great potential, others are certain he’s simply not good enough to wear the famous shirt.
So, just what do United do with Danny?
Hailing from the inner-city Manchester district of Longsight, Welbeck has been with Manchester United since the age of six.
He has been developed by United’s coaches through every stage of the club’s academy, was promoted to the reserves and served his time on loan at Sunderland.
He’s a lifelong fan of the club and his loyalty to United is without question. There is little doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson can take advantage of this knowledge and keep him happy on the bench.
Sir Alex has a history of fusing teams together that contain both world-class ability and lesser-talented individuals in order to keep a harmonic balance within the dressing room—a squad full of too many stars can only lead to battles of the ego.
Welbeck is a valuable squad player that can be utilised in carefully chosen games in order to keep the Van Persies of the world fresh for key fixtures.
There can also be glory in such a role—you only have to look as far as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for evidence that you can still etch your name in the annals of United’s glory-filled history from the bench.
It’s certainly clear that Welbeck is highly thought of within the game. He has featured at all international youth stages for England and has been capped 14 times at senior level, scoring five times.
The same record was apparent in his performance for England at the U21s—five goals from 14 appearances. Strike rate is certainly a crucial aspect of his game that requires improvement.
However, his style of play and adaptability don’t mean he should be restricted to the striker role—he can play from the left or feature as an attacking midfielder in the increasingly popular 4-2-3-1 formation.
Welbeck also works hard for the team and defends from the front better than any other forward in United’s squad, with the exception of Wayne Rooney. The modern game requires players like that.
He displays a selfless attitude when, without complaint, he’s often played out of position for the benefit of the team effort. Perhaps his contemporaries Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge should pay attention.
He is never a minute’s trouble for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Welbeck’s stats fare well too. According to WhoScored.com, he had the second-highest pass completion rate of a forward last season (86.4 percent), only marginally behind Sergio Aguero (86.5 percent).
This is an impressive statistical contribution. A high pass completion rate for a forward is particularly significant because the final third is traditionally the most challenging area of the pitch in which to keep the ball.
However, detractors will argue that the key stats for a forward appear in the goal and assist columns and Welbeck has not particularly impressed there so far.
What should Manchester United do with Danny Welbeck?
From 30 league appearances last season, he scored nine goals and contributed four assists. But it is equally as important to mention that in the 2005-06 season, when Robin van Persie was the same age as Welbeck is now, the Dutch superstar only bagged five goals from 24 appearances.
Welbeck is still young and developing. In front of goal, he needs to add ruthlessness to his game, but he is a handy squad player to have and to throw him on the scrap heap now may be a touch premature.
Bayern Munich made the mistake of doing that with Mats Hummels, offloading him to Borussia Dortmund, where he has since matured into one of the world’s most sought-after centre-backs.
I expect Sir Alex Ferguson will not make the same blunder with young Danny Welbeck.
What do you think United should do with Danny Welbeck? Give me your thoughts below or hit me up on Twitter @jonathanbeever.