The game is undoubtedly bigger than it has ever been as Man City attempt to usurp United’s place at the top of the pile not only in the city, but the country as they attempt to extend their lead at the top of the table at our home.
The nature of football today means that the derby will be competed by a host of different nationalities with French, Spanish, Ivoirian, Italian, Serbian and Bosnian footballers all attempting to push their half of the city to glory but amongst the malaise of different nations Danny Welbeck stands out.
The young striker will be somewhat of a rarity in today’s game in that he is Manchester born.
Having come through United’s academy Sir Alex has fulfilled an ambition in bringing a Manchester born striker through to the first team and I have enjoyed seeing his steady climb up the ladder. Welbeck at just 20 has risen to the occasion this season becoming an England international and cementing his place in Sir Alex’s first team plans.
Although I imagine he has supreme confidence in his ability, you have to to succeed at Old Trafford, he would never have imagined that he would be keeping the winner of last year’s golden boot out of the team or that he would walk into the cauldron that is Anfield and started up front by himself, preferred to Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.
His success is fully deserved as today’s Daily Mail paints a picture of a humble kid who went through tough times with injuries to become a star at the biggest club in the world .
Last week at Anfield, despite not getting the support he needed, Welbeck worked his socks off and made sure he put himself about rather than cutting a lonely and isolated figure at the top of the field. His flick on allowed Hernandez to get United’s equaliser and it was a well deserved reward for his work that afternoon.
Today as United take on City, Welbeck will again be in contention. All the players will know what the derby means, the newer players will have seen it in some form whilst the more senior players will have played in at least one themselves but for Welbeck this may mean a little bit more.
3 years ago Sir Alex flirted with the idea of including Welbeck in the team that faced City at Old Trafford in the derby that marked the 50 year anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, ultimately he decided against doing so but today he has every chance of starting against Roberto Mancini team, marking a wonderful journey for the striker and showing just how far hard work gets you.
Welbeck despite his young age has established himself, but today he can write his name into the books that records every time the Red side and the Blue side of Manchester go head to head.
Brimming with confidence and with a keen eye for goal, I have a feeling he will do just that.