Danny Welbeck: good player, unsuitable role

A Stoke City fan’s view here yesterday that Danny Welbeck would be a welcome recruit at the Britannia brought wry grins to the faces of one or two Mackems who responded along the lines of “take him, please”. Is that unfair? Has Welbeck actually been used in a way that would allow him to express his best footballing qualities, the sort seen in the clip? Perhaps not …

Danny Welbeck arrived from Manchester United carrying a lot of goodwill from United fans who see him as potential Premier star, whether at Old Trafford or elsewhere.

For us, it was an exciting acquisition and it is fair to say we harboured great expectations about what he might do for us.

The promise remains unfulfilled. His best performance of the season was probably the one for England Under 21s in which he scored twice.

In Sunderland colours, it has all been somewhat low key and, in his share of the collective disgrace at St James’ Park on Sunday, he went hell for leather for goal after a good run, but getting nowhere near target when Darren Bent was screaming for the ball in a great scoring position to his right.

The United blog Stretford End Arising, with which Salut! Sunderland established good relations before the recent SAFC v MUFC game, asked whether we would give our early appraisal of Welbeck’s performances since coming on loan.

The task fell to Peter Sixsmith and this is his report:


Not the greatest month for Danny. He had to miss the 0-0 draw against his parent club, being replaced by Bolo Zenden. Zenden had a very good game and many fans (this one included) were surprised that Danny was recalled for the trip to Blackburn Rovers.

He retained his place for the home game against Villa and was in the starting line up for the derby game at Newcastle. Which is where it all began to go seriously wrong for him …

Clearly, he is a good player. However, in the formation that we have been playing, he has been asked to play wide left in a five man midfield and many fans feel sure that this does not suit him. He is a striker, who needs to play off the shoulder, similar to Fraizer Campbell.

However, he appears to be timid and I have seen him pull out of tackles. He looked frightened by the atmosphere and the intensity of the Wear-Tyne derby and was ineffective after spurning an early opportunity. He needs a goal to boost his confidence.

He has good control, excellent ball skills and he clearly wants to play.

He may have to take a seat on the bench for the next few weeks as our manager responds to the hammering we took off our dear rivals by bringing in more experienced players.

How Sir Alex Ferguson feels about that is interesting; apparently, he wants Welbeck to play regularly. Bruce now has to risk upsetting his former mentor as we attempt to drag ourselves back to respectability.

9 thoughts on “Danny Welbeck: good player, unsuitable role”

  1. He did well on Saturday, Jeremy. Looked much better as the second forward than he ever did as a wide midfield player. He will be a better player than Waghorn, who we had to sell to finance the Gyan deal. This owner says if you want something you have to make some sacrifices. Betcha your dad said the same to you in Murton many moons ago!!!!

  2. You’re right Bill, it’s not worth it. Let’s be honest, the only really good deal we’ve had from a Man Utd loanee was Jonny Evans. Danny Simpson was limited and it’s no surprise where he ended up. Welbeck is no great shakes, and just because he came from Man Utd doesn’t mean that he’s any good. It’s flawed logic to assume that he is a great in the making. He has barely featured for them and for me 2 goals on loan at Preston looks poor when compared to Waghorn’s 12 for Leicester last season. Why not have kept Waggy and not bothered with this useless article. This kid Welbeck will never be a PL player. The fac that we are all bemoaning the loss of Campbell tells us all we need to know.

    Take him back Ferguson, and the sooner the better!

  3. I realize that when a player is out on loan, his home club wants him to get as many games as possible. That’s quite reasonable, but only as long as the guy is delivering the goods for the team he’s on loan to. If Welbeck’s stay at Sunderland effectively means giving Ferguson a hand in picking our team, the quicker we move him on the better. I don’t care if that jeopardizes future loans from ManU, it’s just not worth it.

  4. I think Welbeck is a good young player, but he’s far to ball greedy to be deployed on the wing.

    What drives me mad is that bruce hasn’t really used the loan system to the clubs advantage. We’ve had problems with right wing, right back, left back and we need a good playmaker.

    As far as I’m concerned he has only strengthened the right back position with Onuaha and as we dont have a right winger I guess you could say we needed Elmo. I dont think we should have bothered with Mensah.

    As for Danny, he’s clearly a striker and wants to play in that position. If Ferguson wanted him to get games in that position I dont know why he sent him to us.

  5. Welbeck has at best been pedestrian and at his worst completely useless (most of the time). He looks so ineffective wherever he turns up and never causes defenders problems. Were it not for the following three consideration (1) that he is a Man Utd loanee and there is clearly an associated caveat that he plays regularly, and (2) that Frazier Campbell got injured, and (3) that we have already used our loan quota, then I am sure his services would have been dispensed with.

    It’s all very well to talk about loanees coming to learning their trade. We are an established PL side now and shouldn’t be developing talent for other clubs in the same league anyway. We’re not bloody Royal Antwerp. No that there appears much to develop in Welbeck from what we’ve seen.

    Welbeck constantly turns into his opponent and loses possession. I don’t care where he’s playing he shouldn’t be committing the most basic faux pas such as this. To be honest I’m sick of the sight of him.

  6. Like you Bill I hope Bruce doesn’t give Fergie’s feelings a second thought but I suppose if he wants to borrow players again from that source then he will have to consider the way he treats the loanees. We’ve had some valuable help from Salford ie Jonny Evans, etc. BTW I should have said Sheff Utd for Andy Reid not Leeds where McCartney is!

  7. Stephen Foster commented yesterday (with an “inscrutable smiley”) that he wanted Welbeck at Stoke for the player Tony Pulis would turn him into.
    Maybe Pulis could do more with him than Steve Bruce has been able to. Maybe Welbeck simply isn’t (and that’s certainly what his form suggests) a good fit at the SoL. Everyone knows that happens. Look at Diego Forlan when he was with ManU — he wound up nicknamed Diego Forlorn. Once he’d moved on, he really found his feet.
    So maybe that’s what Danny Welbeck needs. What’s far more certain is that Sunderland doesn’t need his constant string of lacklustre performances. Nurturing can only go so far. Sometimes “tough love” is the only answer. That could be the bench or it could be the door.
    Incidentally, since when was the possibility of Steve Bruce upsetting his “former mentor” Alex Ferguson an issue? That, I would hope, never enters SB’s head. Ferguson may be lord of all he surveys at Brandchester but his opinions and approval shouldn’t matter a tuppenny damn at Sunderland.

  8. Clubs send young players out on loan to gain experience and further their development. Jordan Henderson’s time at Coventry is a case in point. Would he have made the progress he has otherwise? So I can understand the view that SAF wants Welbeck to play as much as possible and that his old captain may be responding (if only subconsciously) to his ex manager’s wishes. But SB’s priority must be the development of the club, not that of a single player. Before Campbell’s injury it appeared Welbeck was behind him in the pecking order.
    If Andy Reid can prove his fitness at Leeds and bring himself back into contention along with Zenden and if Asamoah Gyan can earn a regular starting spot, then Welbeck can be nurtured in a way that will benefit the club and himself.
    It is clear that the team needs to create and take more clear cut chances than they have been doing. Draws against Man Ure and the Arse may be seen in a positive light but the team needs to be getting three points against the Stoke Cities, Blackburn Rovers, West Broms, Wigans of this division. Welbeck has had a fair crack of the whip and has not been an effective attacking option so it must be time for his return to the sub’s bench. Both Bardsley and Ferdinand would appear to have benefitted from having to prove their value to the manager. Maybe Danny can show a similar response.

  9. All valid points but Bruce must put the interests of Sunderland 1st, if Ferguson wants him to play regular football he should have kept him and played him, his role at Sunderland seems strange. We pay 13m for Gyan and Welbeck keeps him sidelined, considered by Fifa for Balom d’or but sits on the periphery at Sunderland. I do and have felt that Bruce has an arrangment with Ferguson that Welbeck will get regular football but he is still learning his trade and is certainly not the finished article and I feel maybe never will be

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