Welbeck in the Shadows

WelbeckIn the wake of Danny Welbeck’s on-off loan move to Premier League strugglers Reading, @willowsj takes a look at Welbeck’s form since the start of season 2010.

The latest Man Utd transfer news suggests that the deal to take Welbeck to Reading for the remainder of the season has been dismissed by manager Brian McDermott who believes Sir Alex won’t sent him out on loan to any club.

I’ll never forget the start of Manchester United’s home campaign last season, a 3-0 victory over Tottenham. Putting the fact that it was a fantastic result aside, United looked youthful and rejuvenated. A side which included Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley. However, one man stood out more than the rest. Danny Welbeck.

After being first spotted by United at the age of six, Welbeck had to wait until 2008 to appear for the first team. Inevitably the stage was too great for him, so he left on loan. A spell at Preston didn’t offer much hope, being hampered by injury throughout. It was however during his time at Sunderland that we began to see glimpses of prospect. 26 Premier League games and 6 goals for the campaign, and he was still only 20.

It was no surprise that Sir Alex Ferguson opted against sending him out on loan the following season, it seemed as though he could be inline a first-team opportunity.

Welbeck – probably earlier than even he expected – did in fact start United’s first game of the season, the Community Shield against Manchester City.

Following the relatively recent departure of Ronaldo and Tevez it was clear Sir Alex needed to make a decision as to who would play alongside Rooney upfront. At the time Welbeck was battling against Javier Hernandez – who himself scored 20 goals in his first season at the club – and Dimitar Berbatov, who was beginning to look less prominent in Ferguson’s plans. Two clinical strikers to say the least. Clearly Ferguson had faith in Welbeck, who began to start week-in-week-out. His ability to hold the ball up and eye for goal kept him in the team in a season where he finished with 12 goals, playing just under 40 appearances.

Heading into the summer Welbeck must have been brimming with confidence. He’d cemented his place in the team and played a part in the departure of a “desperately unhappy” Dimitar Berbatov, who couldn’t get a look in. Hernandez too didn’t look as sharp as the season before. Everything began to fall into place. Welbeck was arguably England’s best player at the Euros too.

Danny+Welbeck+Reading+v+Manchester+United+bhU7C-ZQ-2elBut then United welcomed the arrival of a certain Robin Van Persie.

Welbeck has since fallen into the shadows at Old Trafford. The bullish athletic character that we saw last season has been limited to 10 starts this season; 6 of which have been in an attacking midfield/winger role that he just doesn’t look comfortable in.

1 goal this season.

The stats speak for themselves. I’d love to say it’s not all about scoring goals, if a player’s influencing the game and looking sharp – but Welbeck really isn’t.

I feared the arrival of Robin Van Persie would result as such, but when Van Persie’s already the league’s top scorer with 20 in all competitions, who’s going to complain?

It’s no surprise then that Welbeck is supposedly on his way out on loan with Reading looking like favorites to capture the England internationals services. And that’s truly what he is: An England international. From a United perspective no one can complain about Van Persie, he’s come in and simply done what he’s had to: score goals. However, it’s sad to see such prospects struggling to keep their heads above the water.

Danny Welbeck is an all round athlete and proven goalscorer. His services somewhere like Reading could prove to be the difference between a successful season, as it was at Sunderlandand, or a disappointment. I hope though for his sake, he continues to fight for his place in the United team – even if that does mean going out on loan in the short term.

Let us not forget, he’s only just turned 22.


  1. I felt, coming into this season that Welbeck could rise up above the ranks of run-of-the-mill players. His progress, although not meteoric, was none the less progress, and if more of the same was to come, he would surely become a great forward.

    However, as said above, with the arrival of RVP his ops were always going to be far fewer, and with Hernandez regaining his Midas touch, Welbeck just could not get a look in.
    He didn’t help himself either by blowing what chances he got when he did play, and then, on top of that he’s been getting things muddled in outfield play.
    In a sense, he has regressed – and that’s unfortunate for him at United. A victim of circumstances? You bet. Unusual in this business? Haa!

    If he does go to Reading, his United career is over, we now know the odd man out, and welcome Mr. Robert Lewandowski.

  2. I have always felt that mediocre players like Welbeck don’t deserve to be playing for Manchester united, Only 22??? look at Neymar and ther younger strikers in the world of football that have a far better impact on the game compared to a player like Welbeck, Yes he is a england international that just goes to prove that england are not producing quality players anymore. Welbeck doesnt offer much to united in the form of attack, he rarely hits the target, he is not a realistic threat on goal like hernandez, RVP and Rooney.

  3. Welbeck has scored one goal all season? If thats true then you can’t complain about him being replaced by van Persie who has scored 20.

    As a striker your role in the team is to score goals. Very few strikers make it far without scoring goals.

    Chicharito scores goals. Chicha has scored 8 goals in the league. He is a successful striker. Even if he spends most of his season on the bench, when he is given a chance he scores.

    Evra has scored 4 goals in the prem, Evans has scored 3(these guys are defenders mind you), Cleverley, Kagawa and Rafael have all scored 2. But to be fair all these guys have played a truck load more games than Welbeck.

    Van Persie is United’s first choice striker, Rooney is second choice and Welbeck is third choice. Chicharito isn’t waiting in the line because he is the first choice super sub. Chicha is in a different category.

    The only dissapointing thing for me about losing Welbeck would be to release a home grown player. As a club that trys to recruit from its academy its hard to accept losing a loyal to manchester player like Welbeck.

    But there are a lot of fans who are loyal to manchester. That doesn’t mean that they get into the team does it?

    Welbeck would have improved for sure if he was allowed to play as many games as van Persie played. But would we be where we are on the log had he played all those games instead of van Persie. Danny is a victim of circumstance like Redrich says.

    I would prefer Lewandowski. He is better than Welbeck in my limited view.

  4. Our new away kit?

    About Danny now… How many 22 years old EPL players do you know who have scored just once against Chelsea? How many 22 years old EPL players do you know who have scored 5 goals for England… in just 14 games?

    This guy is THAT good! I love his attitude, he is not a foolish starlet, he is way better than many top players were at his age and he ‘s got that professional-smiling attitude that I like. He has his feet on the ground and that’s what counts. I mean, look at Balotelli. His technique is better than Danny’s, he is faster and looks sharper. But can he ever be better than what he is now?
    Well, Danny is going to be much better cause he is a serious professional and that’s what Scholes and Giggs are. That’s why they are MU legends , not just because they were big talents.

      • @Moscow:

        You mean he doesn’t score many goals in the 2012-2013 season?
        Let’s take a look on his EPLeague stats.

        I will give you the average time he came in as a substitute :

        … which means that he comes in as a substitute on the 78th minute of the match.
        Average 12 minutes of playing time in each of the 8 matches… Which means that he played 96 minutes in 8 matches… What could he possibly produce? Well, he produced 1 assist in these 96 minutes, the one against Wigan (January). He played as RW.

        He also played the whole match against West Brom and the one against Wigan (September) . He also played 4 more matches in which he came off on 79,78,61,68. In these 6 matches, he produced 1 goal and two assists. All of his end products came when he played as a winger.

        So ,

        A. as a late sub, average 12 minutes playing time: 8 matches, 1 assist
        B. when starting the game : 6 matches, 1 goal, two assists


        Not bad, not good enough… cause you know, HE IS NOT A WINGER!!!
        431/669 > 2/3 A little bit more than 2 times out of three, he is played as a winger!!!

        Sources : 1. my point of view 2. http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/danny-welbeck/leistungsdaten/spieler_67063.html

        • @Warzycha: Whichever way you dress it up he doesn’t score enough goals and if the rumours about Lewandowski are true then he will soon be moved on.

  5. Danny really needs to sort out his shooting, his approach play isnt too bad but when he doesn’t actually give the impression that he is going to score when he does have the ball in box it really is useless.

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