Welbeck looks on the light side

BY foxsports • October 5, 2011

The pressure England's players have to perform under has been a consistent theme of Fabio Capello's near four-year tenure. It is, the Italian has explained, the reason why his team have found it so hard to reproduce their impressive away form at Wembley. Little wonder therefore that Capello has turned to youth in an attempt to ensure England do not flop at next summer's European Championship in the same way they did at the World Cup. Because Manchester United striker Welbeck and his ilk are not tortured by bad experiences. Indeed, rather than be submerged by a fear of failure, the 20-year-old has the perfect way of keeping all the pressure off. "Mentally, you cannot put that pressure on yourself," he said. "You cannot say 'wow, this is a massive occasion'. You cannot be overawed by anything. "I have been brought up always to play the game and not the occasion. At Manchester United they have drilled that into us. "They want us to win and enjoy ourselves as well." It is the same type of attitude that ensured Welbeck was not happy with a single United appearance, or just one competitive goal. Neither was the single cap he won against Ghana - whom he could still play for until such time as he plays a competitive game for England - enough. Even if he ends any speculation about his international future by featuring against Montenegro in Podgorica on Friday evening, Welbeck's hunger will not be satisfied. In that he is following the examples laid down by the very best. "There are no limits," he said. "I am not seeing it as like 'whoa, I've got to this stage' or anything like that. "In football, you don't want to put a limit on anything. "You don't want to be happy with where you're at. "If you think of the main ones like Lionel Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo, they score goals and break records and just want to keep breaking them. "They don't want to stop there. You can't ever be satisfied." Welbeck's attitude is remarkable given the massive strides he has taken over the past 12 months. Loaned out to Sunderland last season as he simply was not getting enough time on the pitch to justify United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's lofty claim the striker would be part of Capello's squad in South Africa, Welbeck has now established himself as number three in United's long list of forwards, ahead of Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen. Yet it is Owen's presence at Old Trafford that provides an obvious example of where Welbeck should be aiming. "I am learning from the best," he said. "Michael Owen played for England at a young age and terrorised the best defenders on the world stage." And then, of course, there is another team-mate, who has usurped Owen as England's number one forward and is likely to go beyond merely ousting him as the fourth-highest scorer in national team history. "We all know what Wayne Rooney can do. He is one of the best footballers in the world at the moment," said Welbeck. "The thing is, they are so easy to talk to. It's not a case of 'wow, I'm going to talk to Wayne Rooney now'. He's not like that at all. He is not that type of character. "I am always watching them in training and how they act around the dressing room. It's always good to be around their circle." However, Welbeck concedes, much like Jack Wilshere, the making of him was the time away from his parent club. Placement, clearly, is everything. And just as Arsene Wenger picked exactly the right club in Bolton to further Wilshere's abilities, so Sunderland, whose manager Steve Bruce is acutely aware of the demands placed on the shoulders of United players, was ideal for Welbeck. "Just getting the minutes in the Premier League and to be playing week in week out with the big boys was a really big step for me," he said. "I really loved my time there. "Even off the pitch, living on my own, was different. "Moving away from home helped me grow. I even had to cook my own food sometimes. "It wasn't up to scratch, but I improved. "As a whole, I grew from a boy to a man."


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