How To Solve A Problem Like Danny Welbeck


By Ryan Cargill.

With Manchester United sitting pretty at the top of the Barclays Premier League table, boss Sir Alex Ferguson has a welcome headache with the form of 20 year-old striker Danny Welbeck.

Longsight-born Welbeck has bagged five goals in eight games for Man United this season, including a brace on his full UEFA Champions League debut against FC Basel last week.

The stuttering form of Javier Hernandez is sure to allow doubts to creep into Ferguson’s mind over the Mexican’s claims for a regular starting place in the United side.  ‘Chicharito’ has only managed a solitary double this season, away to Bolton Wanderers in early September.

Hernandez’ credentials cannot be dismissed entirely after his stellar maiden season which saw him claim twenty goals in all competitions for the Red Devils.

The fact of the matter is that Ferguson has only one place alongside talisman Wayne Rooney to place Welbeck or Hernandez and the decision is made even more difficult when weighing up the different traits possessed by the youngsters.

Welbeck is clever and strong beyond his years, whereas Hernandez possesses all the predatory instincts we would associate with a young Michael Owen or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It could be argued that various games require different attributes but in most cases, a striker can only find his form when playing week-in and week-out, as we witnessed with Hernandez in the second half of last season.

We may see who Ferguson’s preferred option is when he names his team for the crunch clash with Liverpool at Anfield on the morning of October 15.

Since the beginning of the season, when Hernandez was out injured, Welbeck has taken the chance with both hands, giving his boss an unexpected dilemma.

Welbeck has played his way into contention for a starting place among a mass of striking talent at Old Trafford.  With Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen and Federico Macheda still on the books at Old Trafford, Welbeck and Hernandez are fighting head-to-head for the right to accompany Rooney in the spearhead of United’s attack.

And at the moment, Welbeck is edging ahead.

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  1. Funny how Rooney is always considered untouchable, when so many more options become available in attack for United if one looks away from the limitations he imposes on the team. You know why Hernandez has been in such stuttering form? Because teams know that, as an out and out poacher, he is entirely dependant on the play of others to get him involved, and if they shut down Rooney and force him further and further back to stay involved, his link play with Chicharito disappears. Berbatov is much more the natural partner for Hernandez, as he likes to play deeper, has far more skill, vision and touch than Rooney, and has the priceless ability to be able to hold the ball well against numerous defenders, something Rooney can’t do to save his life. Rooney and Berbatov are not a natural fit, as both like to play in the same area of the pitch, and as Rooney is the golden child with a different set of rules to any other player at United, he’ll never get dropped on form or behaviour – just look at last year’s fiasco of double standards. So as things stand, Fergie should either player Wellbeck and Rooney together, or Berbatov and Hernandez. As for playing a solo striker in a 4-5-1 formation against the better teams – forget it. Rooney is hopeless in the role and becomes anonymous for 85 minutes of the match. Others on the team are better qualified to handle the job, but frankly Fergie can’t get past his infatuation with Rooney, so it’s pointless even mentioning other considerations.

  2. Rooney always plays because hes the best player in the club and we tend to win more games with him in the team than without him. Basic stuff really.

  3. Timbo is clearly bothered by Rooney and is perhaps still a little sore from the fiasco last season he created.. but as for Berbatov being better as both an individually and for the team, not a chance!

    Rooney is up there fighting with Messi & Ronaldo for world’s best player based on current form (excl. norwich game).. Berbatov is a class act, but he is no Wayne Rooney!

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