Danny Welbeck needs goals but he gives so much more

There’s a general temptation for football observers to pin down players supposedly not in-form. Forwards, for instance, are regularly maligned if they score less than they should (see Fernando Torres) and then others are said to be playing well if they have been scoring at a healthy rate. Even if they’ve been bobbins, it doesn’t really matter, because they have plenty. Logic, you see, doesn’t apply. This is life.

And so, naturally, it is Wayne Rooney, with 9 goals in 5, who will be the one deemed ‘in-form’. Danny Welbeck, useless old Danny, hasn’t managed one in eight games. Thankfully, they haven’t decided that Welbeck is rubbish yet, presumably because they’re football fans and consequently not very bright and prone to oversights. Anyone that saw Manchester United defeat West Brom 2-0 on Sunday will have noted just how bad Rooney was on the ball; off it, with all his movement and natural intelligence (you read correctly), it is worth pondering if there are any better, yet that can only take you so far. Welbeck was more involved and — whodathunkit — performed much better than Rooney, something that the top scorers chart won’t tell you.

The only downside of the afternoon was Welbeck’s failure to put away a chance with an empty goal gaping — as good as he has been this season, he will not lose critics unless he converts regularly, such is the way football and its fans work. Although we’ve established that goalscoring isn’t everything, it is still important — of course it is, and being able to is part of what determines a good forward. Still, for a player in his first full season at the club he’s grown up with, near double figures in mid-March is rather good, you know.

Ashley Young might object, but Welbeck was the best player on the pitch against the Baggies; out of position– on paper, anyway — he admirably led the charge from the right as United’s almost-kamikaze setup (without the suicide bit) downed the away side with beautifully-flowing football. At times, he drifted away into the centre and soon inadvertently set up the first goal; so little happened down the right that when Javier Hernandez found the ball on that side, he was presented with plenty of space which to cross it to Rooney in the box. United essentially overloaded the opposition’s box with their three forwards and moved their defenders more central; tactics surely more familiar with the FIFA video games series.

Welbeck did more than draw full-backs out of position, though. It all seems a lot of nothing to mention things like his ‘boundless energy’ and ‘enthusiasm’ but it’s a trait of his that stands out above any other; and it helps him shape his game and develop other attributes. As strange as it may sound, there are shades of Park and also Berbatov, with his clever link-up play, in his game which might so some way in explaining why he’s also rather competent in a deeper position or on the flanks. It might be why he gets the nod over Hernandez and the Bulgarian; because, not only is Welbeck dangerous in the box, but out of it, too. And his dribbling technique is as bizarre as it is good — ‘Pritt-Stick feet’ seems a fair description for a man who rarely who disappoints, even if he doesn’t make the scoresheet; best thing of all, he can only get better.

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6 responses to “Danny Welbeck needs goals but he gives so much more”

  1. ebi says :

    Welbeck will get there. Again I point out Hernandez, who fergie allowed to play to his strengths at first, and now pushing him to work on his weaknesses. Welbeck will be the same. As will Ashley Young. His link up play is something we all wanted but never really happened between Rooney and Berbatov. But WHEN he sorts out his finishing (getting the chances comes easy for him), we’ll have some player there.

  2. ahmad says :

    all i knw is..if he is a striker he MUST score GOALS,linking up play is for the playmakers.chico scores goals and welbeck is never a good striker ahead of hernandes.u all knw that

  3. Benjamin Dang (@Dangh_mufc) says :

    Yeah we could have scored FIVE without Rooney. Oh.

    Just kidding, but my point is a striker without goals is a BIG problem. I admire Welbeck’s dribbling skill and link up play with Rooney, but we have to fear the day Rooney gets injured, just like in 09/10. I think Welbeck probably realizes his lack of goals too, that’s why he makes bad decisions at times: he shoots when a pass is a better option.

  4. CanTheyScore says :

    As you say, Danny offers so much more than just goals (which I am sure he will give more of in the future).

    Technically, in a similar way to Berba, he’s very good when he receives the ball, either at his feet/chest, and is clever enough to distribute it efficiently but, unlike Berba, he seems just as keen to get involved when he is out of possession; with his athleticism, enthusiasm and determination he really helps take the workload off Rooney and in doing so helps get the best out of him.

    Either way, looking at his progression over the last 12 months, I’m sure he’ll be firing them in at a much more consistent rate once he gets 30 more PL games and a Euro 2012 campaign under his belt!

  5. Yang says :

    I don’t think Welbeck played as a forward in this game, yea I think Welbeck played as a wideman.

    Park has been done similar job in the team, as Park grow old, team need to find someone else like Park because balancing and support CM and forward is essential part when United use two forwards.

    It is always very difficult to finish sharp when you need to do many different job on the pitch,

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