At the tender age of 17, Manchester-born Danny Welbeck made his Premier League debut against Stoke City at Old Trafford. With his side cruising with a 4-0 lead, Welbeck beat a couple of players before firing a wonderful curling effort from 30 yards to mark his debut.
Five years before he would make his Premier League debut, Welbeck came face-to-face with one of United’s finest servants, Roy Keane, in a training video watched by then-coach Rene Meulensteen. Welbeck watched Keane demonstrate some skills before executing them in front of the former Republic of Ireland international with skill and maturity beyond his years.
Having missed a host of chances in first few games for new club Arsenal, Welbeck was selected to face Galatasaray in a group stage match and he responded brilliantly with three brilliant goals in a 4-1 demolition of the Turkish side – something he never managed for Manchester United.
England faced Belgium in the build up to Euro 2012 and it was new manager Roy Hodgson’s first game in front of the Wembley faithful. Step up Danny Welbeck to beat the offside trap and dink a wonderfully composed chip into the net in what turned out to be the only goal of the match.
Whether he meant it or not is neither here nor there, his goal against Sweden at Euro 2012 was the stuff of brilliance. England fought back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in what was arguably the highlight of the competition
In his last full season for United, Welbeck went on something of a purple patch for his former club, netting six times in just six matches over the Christmas period and into new year. He started by scoring twice in a 3-0 rout of Aston Villa before netting in a 3-1 home win against West Ham. Three days after Christmas he scored the winning goal against Norwich before finding the net in home matches against Tottenham and Swansea to bring in the new year. Arsenal fans will hope for something similar this festive period.
With the last-minute flurry of transfers that besiege the window closing, many were caught off-guard by the move of Welbeck to Arsenal but many praised it. Ex-Liverpool stalwart Danny Murphy in particular called the deal “the best of the transfer window” which is no mean feat given the calibre of player that signed for United on that day.
In the 32 games for England, Welbeck has scored 13 times, which, while not terrible, is hardly ground-breaking. What is, though, is the fact that England have only lost once in games where Welbeck has scored, in a surprise 4-2 defeat against Sweden where Zlatan Ibrahimovic stole the show for the hosts. In fact, Welbeck has only endured defeat in England colours on four occasions which is a brilliant success ratio.
Welbeck was named the ‘Jimmy Murphy Youth player of the year’ for the 2007/8 season aged just 17. The award, named after the former United coach who famously took temporary charge of the United side after the Munich air crash. The trophy has been won by some of the greatest players to have donned the United red, including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville.
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