Pitchside Europe

Is it time for Man Utd to sell Welbeck?

There are not many strikers who score one Premier League goal all season and muster four assists yet somehow still manage 27 appearances for the champions and remain a regular in the England side.

Danny Welbeck is the type of player for whom the term 'divides opinion' could almost have been been invented for. Detractors immediately point to his Emile Heskey-esque goalscoring record, while his supporters are quick to remind us all he featured prominently in a side that won the title at something of a canter.

So why did Sir Alex Ferguson believe in Welbeck when so many didn't? It wasn't his goals, that's for sure, but before we get too critical of his paltry return it's worth remembering that the young Mancunian spent many of his club games occupying the left-wing position.

With Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez all vying for the main striker role, Welbeck found his chances of starting in that position fairly limited so had to make do with a deeper, wider role.

It's also worth taking into account that of the 27 league matches Welbeck featured in last season, a mere seven of them were for the full 90 minutes, which doesn't fully excuse his lack of goals, but at least goes some way to explaining it.

Welbeck is something of a cult figure at United with his supporters passionately defending him despite often being in the minority, yet even the most ardent members of the 'Danny Fan Club' would have trouble justifying the 22 year-old's profligacy in front of goal.

Not getting chances is one thing but missing over half the ones you do get is an entirely different matter and inexcusable in the eyes of many United fans. Welbeck's cause isn't helped by the fact Hernandez, who played less games than his colleague - is far more deadly in front of goal:

So the burning question that's often pondered before and after matchday at Old Trafford is whether Welbeck warrantd a place in the squad or if he should be jettisoned in favour of Hernandez and make room for a big-money signing?

Welbeck's hard work, not to mention the fact he's a hometown lad, naturally endear him to some of the Old Trafford faithful but there's another trait which makes you believe David Moyes will give the academy product at least one more season, and that is success.

The most important issue surrounding any side is whether they win or not and Welbeck was on the winning side 22 times last season, a record that had Ferguson angrily defending him whenever the dreaded 'goal question' reared its ugly head in the press.

One goal all season for an attacking player doesn't have to mean the exit door and last season's title triumph, and his part in it, surely suggests that Welbeck deserves at least one more year to prove himself.

If Welbeck is to have a chance of truly impressing Moyes and staking a claim to lead the line at United, then he simply cannot afford another campaign of excuses.

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