Sir Alex Ferguson says Danny Welbeck must be patient for chances in United’s first team, but he has promised the young striker that his future is as a centre forward.
After a hugely impressive first full campaign last season in which Longsight-born Welbeck excelled through the middle of the Reds' attack, his opportunities have been hindered by the arrival of Robin van Persie and the recent form of Javier Hernandez, often finding game time in a wide left attacking role.
“With Robin coming in and when we’ve got Wayne as well, you tend to rely on the experience of these players,” Sir Alex told reporters on Friday. “They are great players too. What we have to try and do is alternate selections so that Danny feels he is making a contribution. At the moment, we have tended to play him wide left. I think he’s capable of playing there. He is a threat coming in off the wing and he has done that many times. But I think he is a natural centre-forward.
“Danny’s best form has actually been with England. He has not had the opportunities with us to play centre-forward all the time. But that will come. We’ve tended to play him wide left, which is maybe a little bit unfair to him. But nonetheless he has shown with his form with England that he can be a real asset to us through the middle. That will come for him.”
Sir Alex’s options up front – with four strikers competing for two places – recalls the healthy selection problems faced in the 1998/99 Treble-winning campaign with Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.