Danny Welbeck believes years of growing up with the same players paid dividends for Manchester United on Monday night when his combination with Tom Cleverley unlocked the Tottenham Hotspur defence at Old Trafford.
The Reds’ greater control of proceedings in the second half led to Welbeck opening the scoring in the 61st minute. The young striker said there had been “a few wise words from the gaffer at half-time” after which the champions “came out on fire, blazing.”
Welbeck will enjoy his share of the headlines after breaking the deadlock, but he was quick to credit his long-term Reds colleague for the assist.
“I’ve been playing with Tom ever since I was a young kid,” Danny told MUTV.
“We’ve got a good understanding and when I saw Chris Smalling roll the ball back to Tom, I knew exactly where he was going to put the cross and thankfully I got my head onto the end of it.”
The 20 year-old striker also had words of thanks for the United staff who have helped the likes of himself and Cleverley climb the Old Trafford ladder.
“We’ve both been at the Academy for years and years – about 10 years – so to both come into the Manchester United first team is a massive achievement. We’re so grateful to all the coaches we’ve had throughout the youth system and we’ll never forget them. We’ll always be grateful to them,” he added.
Not that Welbeck is taking anything for granted after starting the first three competitive matches of the new season and scoring in the third. He’s acutely aware of the senior strikers breathing down his neck and the effort needed to stay in the team.
“The gaffer has built a great squad with youth and experience in abundance,” said Danny.
“You know that once you’re in that starting eleven, you’ve got to work hard to keep your place. So I think everyone’s working hard in training and doing their best to get in the starting eleven.