It’s just three weeks before the start of the new season yet Manchester United’s teenage striker Danny Welbeck still does not know what colours he’ll be wearing come the big kick off. Sir Alex Ferguson had earlier indicated that he planned to send his 19 year old on loan for another season following his stint at Preston North End in the last campaign but Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is also keen to buy him outright. Welbeck is currently on tour with Ferguson in the United States and the issue is unlikely to be settled until the squad returns to Old Trafford.
Ferguson believes that the 6ft 2ins youngster has not stopped growing yet and is going through a growth spurt “This is going to be a big season for Danny because for the last three years he has not had a consistent run of games” he explained “I sent him to Preston as you know last year. He got an injury almost right away. He only played five games and ended up having an operation on his knee.”
“One of the things about Danny that may have caused the injury is that he is still growing. He has a weakness in his legs with the speed he is growing. He is about 6ft 2ins and a bit now. He has sprouted up in the last year and a half. So he needs consistent football. He needs to play all the time and that is one of the reasons we are considering sending him on loan again to a premier division team.”
Welbeck set up the winner for Gabriel Obertan in the 1-0 US pre season tour victory against Philadelphia Union at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday and is pleased with his form so far. He is hoping his displays will catch his manager’s eye telling Man Utd.com “I’m really pleased with how the tour has gone for me so far and I’m happy with my performances”
“I’ve got to keep going and continue to get my fitness up” he said “the game in Philadelphia was a good game for us and a good test of our fitness levels. It was quite open at times but we’re pleased to have got the win. My main aim is to be part of the first team set up this season, but I’m happy to go on loan if the manager wants me to. I just want to keep playing games and improving.”
The big striker himself is confident that his game has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years admitting “I feel like I’ve improved a lot over the last couple of years in particular” he explains “I’ve learnt so much during that time, particularly the importance of mental strength on and off the pitch. I want to keep improving and striving to show everyone what I can do.”
Like all his young team mates on tour Welbeck believes that a large part of his development is because of the experience he constantly picks up by playing alongside experienced professionals like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes “It’s always good to be away with a few of the older lads because you pick up so much from them every day. You see how they prepare for games, how they rest and how they train” he says “the older lads at the club are unbelievable, they have this huge determination to win every single training match, let alone actual games. Just to be around them is a real privilege.”
Whether Welbeck remains at Old Trafford and gets an opportunity to challenge for a first team spot or ends up going elsewhere to gain experience, he has plenty of time on his side providing Ferguson keeps believing in his potential. His chance is certain to eventually come irrespective of what colour shirt he may be wearing at the start of the season.
Should Ferguson keep Welbeck at Old Trafford and give him an opportunity?