Danny Welbeck will become a prolific Manchester United marksman

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Football News

Danny Welbeck has enjoyed an impressive start to the 2013/14 campaign, both for club and for country, and is already proving his doubters wrong, who questioned whether he has what it takes for a long and successful career at the top.

A well-taken brace in Manchester United's 4-1 opening day victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium has already equalled his goalscoring return in 40 games in all competitions last season, and three more for the Three Lions against Scotland and Moldova takes his tally to five in just six appearances this term.

Not bad for a player who has been heavily criticised for his profligacy in front of goal, and inability to get on the scoresheet on a regular basis, despite the fact he is still just 22, and has spent a large proportion of his first-team career playing out of position.

What Welbeck might lack in natural talent, he more than makes up for in his willingness to work hard. And, he's learning all the time.

His industrious and diligent displays are in fact one of the reasons why on so many occasions the young forward found himself forced out wide under the previous stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, with his competency to track back and commitment to defensive duties making him well-suited to a wing role.

Welbeck's performances are always appreciated by his teammates, and it's no coincidence that he always seems to find himself on the teamsheet for Manchester United's biggest games.

The Champions League last-16 second leg clash against Real Madrid is one match that stands out in particular last season, after the striker retained his place in the side after scoring in the 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the reverse encounter, while Wayne Rooney was dropped to the bench, prompting furore from the Red Devils faithful.

Ferguson was always staunch in his defence of Welbeck, believing that the academy graduate would become a mainstay in the Manchester United first-team for many years to come, although he did admit that there were elements of the player's game - just like all emerging young talents - that needed to be improved.

The thing that separates Welbeck from other promising starlets is the fact that there is no air of arrogance, or sense of having arrived and made it in the game. Instead, he boasts an intuitive maturity far beyond his years, and acceptance that he is still a work-in-progress, with a burning desire to constantly evolve and grow, in order to fulfil his potential, as a future Manchester United legend.

"Overall, there have been improvements to my game and I have been more consistent," reflected Welbeck in an interview with the Daily Mirror in June. "But I've been playing on the wing, which has inhibited my ability to get into goal-scoring positions.

"I've played up front for England, been away to tournaments and scored goals there, so I know once I get into those positions I will put the chances away.

"I'm also aware that knowing how to play in different positions and developing in different areas of the pitch and will only benefit me and the teams I play for.

"I'm happy to help the team out and it doesn't really matter whether I'm playing on the wing or up front, I should have had a much better goal return."

Welbeck fell far behind Manchester United's three other front-men last season, with Premier League Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie setting the bar high with 30 goals in all competitions, while Javier Hernandez scored 18 times, and Wayne Rooney netted 16 goals.

He will be determined to get much closer to the pack in 2013/14, particularly after David Moyes publicly backed Welbeck to develop into a 15-20 goals per season striker.

All the tools for a future trade as a prolific marksman are there for Welbeck to call upon. It's just down to him to carry on honing the skills he has already shown glimpses of possessing, and make sure those flashes of brilliance become an enduring light at Old Trafford. 

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Manchester United
Danny Welbeck
Premier League

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