Something I have become increasingly aware of over the past couple of months on Twitter and Facebook is the amount of Manchester United fans that are quick to criticise their own players.
De Gea, Valencia, Nani and even Rooney have been at the forefront of it in recent times but the one player who’s taken the brunt of it is Danny Welbeck. A product of our successful youth academy, Welbeck was spotted by the Reds as a six year old but didn’t join United until during the 2005-06 season. He’s gone on to represent United at Youth and first team level along with representing England’s Under 17s, 18s, 19s, 21s and senior level making him one of the most successful academy products to come through in past tenyears.
I first spotted Welbeck back in 2007. We were playing Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup final and at the age of 11, I begged my dad to buy me a programme and that was where I found an article on Welbeck. As I saw him warming up, I remember saying to my dad, “Look how fast he is, he’ll be quality in a few years dad just watch”. Subsequently the game resulted in United getting beat on penalties after the then youth team captain Sam Hewson skied the final spot over the bar.
That was my first memory of Welbeck and since then he’s gone on to prove me right, something I’m quick to remind my dad about every time I see Hansen or Lawrenson praising him on Match Of The Day.
Welbeck marked his Premier League debut as a substitute with a wonder strike in a five goal win against Stoke City, a debut which many United fans can remember rather well. It’s a well known fact that Sir Alex Ferguson is a keen admirer of Welbeck and he has continued to ease him into the first team, with Welbeck making 53 senior appearances so far in his Manchester United career. He has also represented England’s senior side 14 times, most notably at the European Championships in 2012 and has up to now scored 5 goals for England’s elite.
But as a massive Welbeck fan which I am, I’ve been saddened to see the unneeded criticism that has come his way recently. People on Twitter labelling him as a ‘liability’ and calling for him to be ‘sold’ have done nothing but irritate me. What isn’t there to like about him?
Welbeck came into the senior setup as an out and out striker but as with most young players, Ferguson has tried to develop him into a utility player which has seen him play out on the wings as well as upfront with Van Persie and Hernandez. With only one goal this season, it’s safe to say he hasn’t had the best few months in front of goal but what makes up for that is his work ethic and pace. If he loses the ball, he battles to go and win it back and due to his phenomenal speed, he’s usually rather successful at doing that.
For example, against Liverpool at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago. He lost the ball on the half way line and sprinted back to the corner flag to win the ball back. Then if that wasn’t enough, he took the ball down the left, leaving three Liverpool defenders in his path, made a quick one-two and he was nearly in on goal but unfortunately his legs just gave in at the wrong time.
Now to me, I’d just as much prefer to see a United player doing that than see a United player scoring a goal. It shows passion for the club, something that is hard to find in players of the modern era. It’s a well-known fact that his confidence has gone in front of goal, so why would fans continue to slate him for it? Of course he looks on Twitter and reads the papers, and seeing his own fans giving him this much grief isn’t helping him.
What isn’t to love about the lad? Get off his back, support Manchester United and sing Welbeck’s name because this boy could just be one of the greatest ever talents to come out of Carrington.