Danny Welbeck scored twice against Slovenia in England’s latest international, taking his tally to 13 goals in 26 appearances for The Three Lions under Roy Hodgson. A decent tally of exactly one every two games – however it could have been even better if he was played in his favourable position more often.
He wanted to be the main striker at his club, which he was quite obviously not going to happen at Manchester United so he opted for a move to Arsenal, and has become their main man up top, with help from the injury to Olivier Giroud.
Danny’s record when playing as a striker for England is an incredible 10 goals in 12 games. A strike-rate which would better any before him should it be possible for it to continue. If he is consistently played in his favourable position he may well hold a record of a goal per game, an incredible opportunity for him personally and the national team.
The 23-year-old has been the butt of many jokes, as is the case for most footballers since the growth of social media. Yet now he has settled into his new club and is getting amongst the goals more regularly than his time with the Red Devils, as well as being his country’s best current goalscorer, that ‘abuse’ has slowed down considerably.
Welbeck is generally underrated as a goalscorer due to his relatively slow start for Man United, but again this was due to him playing out wide rather than in his favoured centre forward position. During his time at Old Trafford Danny made 142 appearances for United scoring 29 goals in the process, a poor scoring record of 0.2 goals per game. Although early days at The Emirates Stadium his strike-rate has improved dramatically after netting 5 goals in his opening 12 appearances – a rate of 0.41 goals per game, over double than at his previous club. Still not quite where he would want to be, especially in the league, but an instant improvement thanks to his positional change none-the-less.
In the last four England internationals Welbeck has been the main focus of the attack due to the absence of Daniel Sturridge, and the Arsenal forward has scored five in that period including both in the tough Swiss fixture as well as 2 against a hard-fought Slovenian side last time out.
He may not be underrated at Arsenal, but after how he was viewed at United, he’s certainly improving. In contrast he is most certainly undervalued as an Englishman but that is beginning to change as he proves his worth in the current European Championships qualifying campaign.
His recent international record is more than impressive and so if his overall England record when played in his favoured position. Where he doesn’t excel is when he is stuck out wide. He is no slouch and certainly has a turn of pace but he’s a player with striker’s instincts and that cannot be wasted by placing him out-wide. It also can’t be wasted when Sturridge finally returns to both club and country. There’s not much possible improvement to be made on Welbeck’s current England record and so until he stops producing the goods there should be no change.
Danny’s performing well above what was once expected of him and it’s about time as a country we recognised him as our best current striker. He deserves it.