Danny Welbeck: How Manchester United Forward Can Reach His Potential

Max TowleAnalyst IJune 27, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 22: Danny Welbeck of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on April 22, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Danny Welbeck comes in for more stick than the average Manchester United player.

The English forward had a decent 2012/13 season, but it was one tempered with a distinct lack of net-bulging.

Welbeck scored only twice in 39 total appearances. Compare that with his haul of 12 the previous campaign, and it is easy to criticise.

Two goals is a very poor return for a man billed as a striker, but one has to bear in mind that he was played in a number of different roles under Sir Alex Ferguson last season.

One minute he was playing the spoiler in attacking midfield against Real Madrid, the next he was operating as a traditional winger.

But these roles are not his long-term calling. He was raised as a forward and must fulfill his potential in this area.

How you ask? Here are a few areas of his game that should be the priority for David Moyes.



No. 1 on his list should be his composure in the final third of the pitch.

Too often last term, Welbeck would get into promising positions then either squander the final ball or shoot woefully wide of goal.

At times he looked like a gangly kid playing among adults. It is not so much his finishing, but his calmness under pressure.

He has ironically looked far more assured in front of goal for the England national team.

Last year he scored four goals for the Three Lions, including a stunning effort in a Euro 2012 clash with Sweden.

Former United striker Andy Cole attributed his recent domestic woes in front of goal to his being too selfless, as reported by James Robson of the Manchester Evening News:

"Now he is picking players out if he sees an opportunity that’s better for somebody else. Before he would have gone himself," said Cole.


Consistency in Positioning

It could be argued that Danny Welbeck was only played out of position so often last season because of his misfiring ways in front of goal.

But this was probably more a case of Sir Alex wanting to give him as much game time as possible.

If the 22-year-old is to reach his full potential, he needs a decent run of games in his preferred position.

Of course, there are significant obstacles that might prevent this from happening.

Robin van Persie is a barnacle in the first team, and will be played as long as he is fit. There is also Javier Hernandez in need of game time up front.

It will ultimately be up to Moyes as to how Welbeck is used.

The Scotsman should be wary of trying to change the type of player he is and run the risk of marginalising a top English talent.


A More Dynamic Threat

There are few world-class strikers in the history of the game who could not score with their weak foot.

At the moment, Danny Welbeck does not have a left foot he can rely on.

He should take heed from past United poachers. The likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ruud van Nistelrooy could score in a variety of ways.

Aerially, Welbeck is not as strong as his physical frame would suggest either.

The expectations at Manchester United are as high as any football club in the world, but youth will always be given a chance.

As Welbeck transitions out of the "talented youngster" phase, he will be given short shrift.

To secure his future at Old Trafford, he needs to improve as a dynamic attacking threat capable of scoring goals consistently.



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