My eight year old, Joe, badgered me to write this, but he was pushing a bit of an open door in truth. I'm a big fan of the 26 year old Mancunian and I'm convinced that Arsenal are a better team when he's playing.
I've heard very positive stories, anecdotal admittedly, about the excellent way Danny handles himself around the club. In contrast with the behaviour of some of our other high profile players (two in particular), Danny is polite, respectful, and concerned about the lower profile employees at Arsenal; cleaners, cooks, ground staff etc.. That counts a lot, because more than ever, footballers are role models for young people and the fact that Danny is always good natured despite the fact that he's suffered horrendous injury problems at Arsenal is indicative of his personal qualities.
The injury issue is obviously the elephant in the room, so let's address it. Danny has suffered from a series of knee problems since his arrival on September 2nd 2014. Prior to this he had experienced some concerns, but his lack of game time but was more due to competition for places. In his time at Manchester United he missed 27 games either at United or on loan at Sunderland. Since 2014/2015 season he has missed 79 games in an Arsenal shirt. It seems that every time he comes back he looks great and then that knee gives in again, the crux of the most recent lay off was damage to the hyaline cartilage. The club's medical team are confident that they have addressed and corrected the core problem, so we can only hope that this is the case.
However, rather than criticise a player for a weakness in one part of his body, I prefer to praise Danny for the courage and tenacity he has displayed each time has suffered a setback. Saying it's "frustrating" doesn't get anywhere near the truth, it must be devastating for a young man who knows that his career may only last until his early 30's. However, Danny is only 26, with his best years definitely ahead of him, and that's one of the reasons why Arsenal should seek to utilise his skills and ability. He has time on his side to be an Arsenal legend.
Danny Welbeck is an unusual footballer, in that his mixture of strength, power and pace, enables him to play in any position across a front three, two, or as a sole striker. He has his critics, I wouldn't describe Danny as a graceful player, his first touch can be a tad sharp, but his qualities have made him an automatic selection for his country. He has 34 caps and has scored 14 goals (2.4 per game), that's an excellent return from someone who has usually started in a wide position.
Two further positive aspects to Danny Welbeck are his fantastic will to win, like it or not, they teach that to young players at Manchester United, the other is his ability to complement the work of those around him. He knows how to link play, he reads the game well and has an implicit understanding of where he needs to be on the pitch at certain times. Again, this is unusual in a relatively young man, but look at the goal he scored last season against Leicester City. Danny knew that this was the last scoring opportunity of an excellent game and strained every fibre to get on the header which won the match.
Since his most recent, and again interrupted return, he looked exceptional in the FA Cup against Southampton and scored the only goal at Anfield, a finish of real dexterity. We are a better, more dangerous attacking force when Danny Welbeck starts for Arsenal. Pick him, play him.
By Ian Byrne