19. DANNY WELBECK
|Birthdate:||26 Nov 1990|
|Joined United:||01 Jul 2007|
|United Debut:||23 Sep 2008 v Middlesbrough (H)|
Having worked his way through the ranks at United, Danny Welbeck established himself as a first-team regular of real talent in 2011/12.
Capable of scoring spectacular goals, he was first handed a senior squad number for the 2008/09 season after starring for the Academy and Reserves. The Manchester-born frontman joined United’s youth set-up in summer 2007 and quickly caught the eye with his skilful, strong and pacy displays. As a schoolboy, Welbeck played a prominent role in the Under-18s’ run to the 2006/07 FA Youth Cup final. He bagged nine goals in 14 starts for the Academy in 2007/08 and seven goals in 11 starts for the Reserves, including a superb hat-trick against Manchester City, as the Reds’ second string won both the Manchester and Lancashire Senior Cups. His performances earned him a call-up to the first-team squad for United’s winter trip to Saudi Arabia. Although he missed a last-minute penalty, Welbeck impressed in his 25-minute appearance against Al Hilal. Welbeck, capable of playing out wide as well as up front, was later named on the substitutes’ bench for the Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona and was part of the travelling party for the final in Moscow. Welbeck made a bigger impression on the first team in the 2008/09 campaign. His debut came in September 2008’s Carling Cup win over Middlesbrough, and his first senior goal was a wonderful long-range effort against Stoke at Old Trafford two months later. He also started the Carling Cup final triumph over Spurs at Wembley in March 2009, and finished with three goals in 13 appearances in all competitions. Two goals in 11 first-team appearances, including a Champions League debut against Besiktas, followed at the start of 2009/10, before Welbeck joined Championship side Preston in January 2010 on loan until the end of the season. He started well, scoring two goals in his first three games, but a knee injury in March cut short the loan deal and Danny’s season. Welbeck spent the following season on loan at Sunderland, where he scored six goals in 28 appearances, though his spell was again disrupted by a hamstring injury. 2010/11 was also the season Welbeck made his senior international debut for England, as a substitute in a 1-1 friendly draw with Ghana in March. He’s also represented England at Under-21 level. In 2011/12, Welbeck came to the fore in the red shirt, scoring 12 times in 39 appearances in all competitions, including a contender for goal of the season against Everton, as he formed an eye-catching partnership with Wayne Rooney. Welbeck’s improved hold-up play, strength and finishing ability were rewarded with a nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, and he went on to score England’s winner against Sweden at the Euro 2012 finals in Kiev.