Welbeck's star set to rise even higher
Published 05/10/2011 | 05:00
Danny welbeck has been brought up at Manchester United, as he explained yesterday, to "play the game, not the occasion" and, for a young man who has made such rapid strides in football as him, that will stand him in good stead come Friday night.
Welbeck is the favourite to make his first England start against Montenegro in Podgorica, with Fabio Capello's team needing a single point to be sure of qualifying for the finals of Euro 2012.
Barring injuries, Capello has narrowed it down to either Welbeck or Darren Bent to play off Wayne Rooney in what would be a variation on the 4-2-3-1 system that England have played of late.
The fact that Welbeck has accelerated so quickly up the hierarchy is an indication of the qualities of a player who is not 21 until next month.
He has scored four goals for United already this season, despite spending just 208 minutes on the pitch, having moved ahead of Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen in the pecking order.
Welbeck is Manchester born and raised by parents who moved from Ghana to Longsight and subsequently Droylsden. He has played for England at every junior level from U-17s to U-21s and made his senior debut in the friendly against Ghana in March.
The United connection goes back to growing up on the same street as Wes Brown's late father, Bancroft, who introduced him to the junior team Fletcher Moss Rangers, with whom Wes and his brother Reece also played. Reece, now in the United reserve team, is, Welbeck says, his best friend.
Welbeck made his debut for United three years ago but only now, via loan spells at Preston North End and Sunderland, is he established in the first-team squad.
"I'm not seeing it as like 'whoa, I've got to this stage' or anything like that," Welbeck said. "I just want to keep improving because I know there's no limits. It's all an illusion. In football, you don't want to put a limit on anything. You don't want to be happy with where you're at.
"If you think of the main players like Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, they score goals and they break records and they just want to keep breaking them. They don't want to stop there. You can't ever be satisfied."