Two vibrant, young, athletic players. Two English talents that have the potential to set the world alight. Two players that have the perfect stage to really conquer the footballing world. But yet only the general consensus is that only one will be given the chance by England manager Fabio Capello to go to the upcoming European Championships in Poland and Ukraine later this year. Now, the question to ask here is that who if any do you take, or do you take both?
Bought up in opposing academies of Manchester, both players burst onto the scene a couple of seasons ago. Danny Welbeck for Manchester United, and Daniel Sturridge for Chelsea after moving from Manchester City. Well maybe burst is the wrong word, more so slowly introduced into the first team. After excellent loan spells at Sunderland and Bolton respectively, they came back to their respective clubs with a point to prove, and that is exactly what they have done. So why all the hype?
Danny Welbeck currently has scored 4 League Goals in 15 League appearances this season with 2 assists.
Daniel Sturridge currently has 9 League Goals in 15 League games with 2 assists.
Now judging by statistics alone its easy to point out that Sturridge has the better goal scoring record this season, but mitigating factors such as a bad run of injuries for Welbeck have to come into play. But we cannot take away from the fact that Sturridge has been immense
In late 2011, Capello started to bring the ‘new breed’ of England players. Joe Hart, Ashley Young and Jack Wilshere started this, and slowly Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Jack Rodwell, Kyle Walker came into the reckoning. Danny Welbeck was considered in this category, but to England and Chelsea fans bemusement Sturridge wasn’t.
So this brings me to my reasoning why I feel Welbeck is slightly ahead of Sturridge at the moment. Welbeck is a strong and pacey player and has been first choice when fit alongside Wayne Rooney this season. Capello likes this as he sees Welbeck as someone who can successfully partner Wayne Rooney on the International Stage. Danny Welbeck has already established himself as a ‘Capello favourite’ whereas Daniel Sturridge has had to prove himself with Chelsea to be considered.
Both players have shown extensive versatility, Sturridge being deployed on the wings for Chelsea this season, yet is still amongst the goals for them this season, whereas Welbeck played in a wide position for Sunderland last season, and until injury struck was seen as a major factor in their decent season to that point. Sturridge has pace to burn, but is sometimes seen as not being consistent in the big games, but has an extremely cool head in front of goal.
So how to fit them in for England. Two factors to consider here, with and without Rooney. We all know that when fit (and not suspended) Monsieur Rooney is the number one choice for England. Ashley Young, despite his recent dip in form and injury problems, has to be considered a guaranteed starter on the left, which leaves a spot on the right wing open or if 4-4-2 then alongside Wayne Rooney. The fact that Welbeck plays with him at club level gives him a slight advantage, but if picked on form then Daniel Sturridge surely has a shout? Other players like Bent, Defoe and Zamora do not cut it at International Level consistently enough. If a 4-4-2 is played then Rooney and Welbeck is surely the way forward, but in 4-3-3, which is preferred by Capello, Sturridge MUST play, as he has shown his excellent Wing play for Chelsea, and goal scoring and chance creation wise, he is miles ahead Walcott and Lennon. Without Rooney, it depends on who Capello uses as the focal point, and this is where Welbeck has the advantage, he is preferred by Capello at this point and will battle it out with Bent for this spot. Sturridge gives a certain ‘X-Factor’ and therefore he has to be considered.
Their managers are also massively complimentary of them as well:
‘’He’s got a talent as good as anyone in the game for the forwards. I think he’s almost certain to get his chance now. He’s confident, intelligent and certainly got the technical skills. He has a great belief in himself.’’ Sir Alex Ferguson on Welbeck, 2011. (source ESPN)
”He is an extremely quick player, and he has technique at pace. You get plenty of pacy players, but what is important is that he arrives with the ball, he can control it and do something with it. That is what he offers.” Andre Villas-Boas on Sturridge in 2011. (source ESPN)
If I was Capello, I would see this as a massive blessing in disguise! He has two of Europes best young strikers battling it out. But I’m not Capello, do not know his thinking. So who do you think should go to EURO 2012? Sturridge? Welbeck? Or both?? One things for sure, England’s future looks bright in the hands of Sturridge and Welbeck.
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