Danny Welbeck: United's next superstar

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Danny Welbeck added to his growing reputation over the weekend, hitting the winner in Manchester United's 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a steady rise to the top under Sir Alex Ferguson, graduating to the first team on a regular basis after impressing at academy level and then out on loan.

Welbeck made sporadic senior appearances after turning professional in 2008, but got his first big chance with a brief spell away from United. He joined Preston in January 2010 following the appointment of Darren Ferguson, son of Sir Alex, at Deepdale.

Injury curtailed his progress with North End, but the youngster showed glimpses of his potential with two goals in eight appearances for the then Npower Championship outfit.

After an operation on his injured knee in March, Welbeck completed his recovery and signed for Sunderland on a season-long loan in the summer. It would prove to be a brilliant move for the young forward.

Under Steve Bruce, Welbeck would make 26 league appearances, scoring six times for the Black Cats during his spell at the Stadium of Light.

His performance against Chelsea, in a shock 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge in November, remains arguably his finest outing to-date.

An England call would come in March, when Welbeck came off the bench in the 1-1 draw with Ghana at Wembley. He had previously rejected the chance to represent the African nation, and was jeered by their fans on his first outing for the Three Lions.

It will have done little to dampen the player's spirits though, with injuries the only continuous area of concern in the precocious talent's development.

Welbeck missed eight weeks between January and March with a hamstring injury on Wearside, and another problem in April saw a return to the Red Devils ahead of schedule.

And, after making a great start to the current campaign at Old Trafford, injuries played a part in hindering Welbeck's progress under Sir Alex Ferguson.

With competition fierce at the forward-line for United, the three-cap international got his chance in the FA Community Shield, starting alongside Wayne Rooney in the 3-2 win over Manchester City.

Goals against Spurs and Arsenal provided justification over the Scot's decision, but injuring his hamstring in the 8-2 win over the Gunners put the versatile striker, who can also play on the wing, out of action for another month.

A double on starting return, in Europe against FC Basel, proved an ability to score on the biggest stage. Welbeck has nine goals in all competitions so far this season, the latest coming in the north London victory on Sunday.

His stock is undoubtedly on the rise, and at just 21, the future appears very bright for Welbeck - which is why Manchester United must agree a new long-term contract with the player.

After reports that Welbeck was stalling on a new deal because the wage offer didn't meet his demands, speculation in the same article in The Sun today is suggesting that the two parties are set to agree a £42,000 a week deal.

With his current deal set to expire in 2013, securing Welbeck's services was becoming a necessity in the eyes of supporters at least, with his growing influence on the pitch being felt more-and-more as he gets the nod ahead of Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez.

The worrying thing for opposition defenders is that Wayne Rooney, who appears to have been around forever, is only 26. Together with Welbeck, the pair could provide years of dominance for United both domestically and in Europe.

It's not just the Red Devils who will benefit though - think England. Capello was in the stands for Sunday's clash against Arsenal, and must have been impressed with the performance.

Welbeck is staking a claim to feature at Euro 2012, and expect his profile to skyrocket with some fine performances in Poland & Ukraine.

Premier League
Danny Welbeck
Manchester United

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