Daniel Nii Tackie Mensah “Danny” Welbeck (born 26 November 1990) is an English professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Arsenal and the England national team. He primarily plays as a forward but can also play as a winger.
Due to his height, running style, and ethnicity, Welbeck has been compared to former Arsenal strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Nwankwo Kanu, but styled his game on another former Arsenal forward, his boyhood hero Thierry Henry.
He has also been known for his work-rate and has been described as strong, quick, and very good in the air.
Critics have acknowledged the strength in Welbeck’s style of play such as his work-rate, pace and intelligence in following tactical command, especially after his performance in both of Manchester United’s Champions League knock-out stage matches against Real Madrid in 2013. Welbeck has been praised as a big-game player.
Under former England manager Roy Hodgson, who favoured the 4–3–3 formation, Welbeck’s ability in supporting the attack, pressing the midfield and holding up the ball fitted into the system.
Welbeck made his way through the youth teams at Manchester United before making his senior debut in 2008 and scoring in the process. He was with United when they won the 2008–09 Football League Cup and the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup before being sent on loan to Preston North End and more recently Sunderland. From the 2011–12 season, Welbeck was a regular figure in the Manchester United first team.
On 2 September 2014, in the late hours of deadline day, Welbeck joined Arsenal on a “long-term deal” for a £16 million fee. Stating the reason for his departure to a direct rival, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said “Welbeck doesn’t have the record of Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney. We let him go because of Falcao, but also to allow the youngsters to fit in. That is the policy. That is why I am here.” Welbeck left Manchester United making a total of 142 appearances, scoring 29 goals.
Welbeck made his Arsenal debut against the previous season’s champions Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in a 2–2 draw on 13 September. Following his first two games for Arsenal, manager Arsène Wenger urged fans to be patient, saying: “Danny will improve—we don’t have to make a problem of that. We have to be patient with him”. Welbeck scored his first Arsenal goal against Aston Villa in a 3–0 win on 20 September, and also set up a goal for Mesut Özil. On 1 October, he scored a UEFA Champions League hat-trick—the first treble of his professional career—against Galatasaray in a 4–1 victory.
On 9 March 2015, Welbeck scored the winning goal to knock out his former team, Manchester United, in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at Old Trafford. The following month, he was ruled out for the rest of the campaign with injury, missing the Gunners’ victory in the 2015 FA Cup Final.
Welbeck missed the opening weeks of his second season at Arsenal through injury, with it being announced that he would be out until Christmas with a knee injury. Around the time that he was expected to return, it was instead confirmed that he would be out until February 2016 at the earliest. Welbeck made his return on 14 February 2016 in a 2–1 win over league-leaders Leicester City as an 83rd-minute substitute, replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He announced his return by heading in an injury time winner from a Mesut Özil free-kick. Welbeck scored in his first Premier League start of the season, Arsenal’s first in a 3–2 defeat at former side Manchester United.
Welbeck then scored in consecutive domestic games, a 2–1 home defeat in the FA Cup against Watford, then in a 2–0 win at Everton, ending a run of three games of without a league win. In May, Welbeck sustained another knee injury in a 2–2 draw with Manchester City from which it was estimated he would miss between three and five months of football, thereby ending any chance he had of making England’s UEFA Euro 2016 squad. It was subsequently announced that he would be out of action for nine months.
He made his senior England debut in March 2011 in a 1–1 friendly draw against Ghana, the homeland of both of his parents. He scored his first senior international goal on 2 June 2012, the only goal in a friendly victory over Belgium. Welbeck has gone on to represent England at UEFA Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, earning over 30 caps.
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