Danny Welbeck is making great strides for Manchester United this season, and is already showing signs of becoming an important feature in the club's title tilt in 2011-12, says former striker Andy Cole.

The Red Devils favourite has praised the 21-year-old striker for his recent run of form, having started four of United's last seven games, scoring three goals in the process, including the winner in Sunday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Arsenal.

"I think Danny's brilliant," Cole told ManUtd.com. "It's fantastic for his confidence that he's starting so many big games.

"Javier Hernandez has been injured and has been finding it tough to repeat what he did in his first season. Sometimes your second season is your toughest, I went through that myself.

"[But] Danny has come in and grabbed his chance with both hands and he's playing very well. He's playing with confidence and getting goals too."

Cole is encouraged by the similarities he can see between himself and Welbeck, suggesting that the comparative playing style, which helped him to score nearly a century of goals for Manchester United, will work wonders for the England international moving forward.

"You might say I was a bit of an old-fashioned centre forward when I played," he continued. "I always wanted to try and run in behind defenders and get chances that way.

"To see Danny doing that is great. He can play in front of defenders as well, but when he runs in behind them he causes a lot of problems."

Welbeck is currently in negotiations over a new deal at Old Trafford, with his existing contract set to expire in 2013. Sir Alex Ferguson has made securing the youngster's long-term future a priority between now and the end of the season.

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