England: Rickie Lambert over Danny Welbeck?
Does Danny Welbeck deserve a place in the England team ahead of Southampton's Rickie Lambert?
Danny Welbeck causes a split between football fans across the country and the world. While many appreciate his defensive duties, work ethic and athletic ability, it is difficult to see him ever starring in a team for his goalscoring.
Throughout his professional career, Welbeck has never been renowned for his scoring record. His most prolific season came in 2011/12 with Manchester United when his 39 performances saw him a return of 12 goals across the Premier League, Europe and both English cups.
This season he has only managed one league goal in 22 matches. This is worrying for Ferguson as he regularly leaves out Javier Hernandez, who has managed to score 48 goals in just 109 appearances for United, in favour of Welbeck.
Many fans say Welbeck's industrious style wins their hearts, such as against Real Madrid where he not only scored an important goal but successfully marshalled Madrid's potent midfield, specifically Xabi Alonso, incredibly well until Nani's unfortunate red card.
He is strong, quick and a good passer of the ball and while these are important qualities for a striker scoring goals has to be the main criteria.
However, it seems it is England matches where Welbeck excels. He has managed five goals in 10 starts and six substitute appearances. These included vital goals such as the intricate back-heeled winner against Sweden in England's Euro 2012 campaign. Yet there are calls for more clinical, perhaps more deserving, players who often get overlooked for the England team.
These include Southampton talisman Rickie Lambert. He recently overtook Wayne Rooney to become this season's top scoring Englishman with 14 goals in just 31 league appearances. Many dismissed him as too slow for the pace of the top flight and claimed he wouldn't be able to repeat his prolific seasons in the lower leagues. These include 27 goals in 42 games in the Championship for Southampton and 30 goals in 45 games in League One. He has a good goalscoring record dating back even to his 2005/06 season with Rochdale.
While he may lack raw pace, he makes up for it with imposing threat aerially, with him winning 45% of his aerial 50-50s. His shooting accuracy is also excellent which is 53% just 1% behind Rooney. Yet it is his creativity that really makes him stand out. He has four assists for the season and creates a chance for his team-mates every 38 minutes, easily the best in the league for English strikers.
While Lambert is possibly past his prime, at the age of 31 he has been consistently overlooked for England possibly due to the fact he plays for a lower positioned team in Southampton.
However, Lambert is fully deserving of an England chance and it would not be a surprise to see his named in the next squad for the friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil in late May and early June.
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