Date: 20th June 2011 at 4:30pm
Written by:

Not just a great healer, time also acts as a great indicator.

Somethings that was not apparent yesterday may become clearer today.

Thus when Faith Baldwin said,

“Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.”

few can or will disagree because we as people and our attitudes can and will change as time passes.

It was just over a year ago, with United touring the States, that I argued with a man on Twitter who was incensed that I would state that Danny Welbeck was better than and had more to his game Kiko Macheda. So incensed in fact that he unfollowed me for expressing such an opinion.

But even if it wasn’t as unpopular an opinion then as this man’s reaction suggested, there are few if any without good reason that will disagree now.

I don’t say this because of Macheda’s poor spell in Italy either, it was a learning lesson. It may be felt that he learned nothing from the spell at Sampdoria but mentally what he picked up from his time back in Italy may speak volumes later on, so instead I look to not only what Welbeck has shown us previously but what he has in the past year.

It was said that his frame was too slight and that would work against but on last summer’s tour as well as a confidence in his play, he showed he had filled out and began using his size to his advantage as the rough edges began to round off.

Despite injuries intervening at points of his season, Welbeck will look back on 2010/2011 favourably. Despite making his name at United, it’s at Sunderland where he has begun to establish himself as his time with Bent and Gyan looked to be beneficial. He earned a calling up to the England senior squad and at u21 level hasn’t found goals hard to come by, scoring both of England’s efforts at the European Championship amongst others.

Given the opportunity at the Stadium of Light, Welbeck has taken to the role of a Premier League player. Not all players his age, especially strikers, find it easy to make the step up but at Sunderland, away from the bright lights of Old Trafford, he was able to play and learn his trade pressure free.

His goal against Chelsea capped a top notch performance against top notch opposition and he would also score a brace against Everton amongst other teams as people began to sit up and take notice, none more so than Steve Bruce who has continually attempted to make overtures for his signature to make what was a loan deal permanent.

Sir Alex has continually rebuffed his former defender’s attempts and in March he put Welbeck (and Tom Cleverley) firmly in his plans when he said,

“Welbeck has been fantastic too, it’s just unfortunate that he picked up a bad injury.

“They will come back into the first-team squad and they will get plenty of games next season. They are part of the band of young players coming through at this club. They will all come back in.”

With that being said it appears that Welbeck will be a United striker next season. He himself seems keen to take an opportunity given to him by Sir Alex but the qustion is how frequently will they come?

United already have 4 strikers with the inform partnership of Rooney and Hernandez, top scorer Berbatov and Michael Owen who recently signed a new deal. There is a place for Welbeck amongst them but will he be discouraged to see that Berbatov was unable to break up the dominance of Rooney and Hernandez on the striking places in the starting line up?

Will he be content with just cameos, Carling Cup and FA Cup appearances? All games are experience at his age so they will be welcomed but he will realise that he could be playing more games away from Old Trafford.

I could be wrong and he may find he gets more time on field that I assume. As Manchester United, we will invariably have a long season and in order to keep the squad fresh for the latter part, players wil be moved around and Welbeck may benefit from this too.

It’s not even confirmed he will be used purely as a striker as he has shown he still has much to offer from wide positions or as part of a front 3 but even in that capacity there is competition likely to be increased with the arrival of Ashley Young.

At this stage in Welbeck’s career it’s all about progression and development, he himself will tell you that this past year has been integral to his growth and the coming year will be just as, if not more important. Sir Alex has made assurances to him about game time and he will be keen to see that the promises are kept if he is to continue progressing as he has despite the stiff competition he faces.

By the way if you’re the guy that unfollowed me, feel free to follow me again. I forgive you.