Wel­beck strug­gles to fit in

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — A few days be­fore Eng­land’s World Cup squad flew out to Brazil last sum­mer, Danny Wel­beck made it clear that he ex­pected to be given a run of games up front when he re­turned to Manch­ester United.

We are com­ing up to the an­niver­sary of that con­ver­sa­tion — which hap­pened in the swanky re­sort of Quinta do Lago in Por­tu­gal — and noth­ing has changed, ex­cept his club.

On Sun­day, wear­ing the colours of Ar­se­nal in this FA Cup fifth round tie against Mid­dles­brough, the for­ward was shoe­horned into this team. Few could dis­place Olivier Giroud on his cur­rent form.

In­stead, Wel­beck is in familiar ter­ri­tory, forced on to the wing again be­cause Giroud, one of the most un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated play­ers at the high­est level of the game, is scor­ing at will.

In many ways Wel­beck is a vic­tim of his own ver­sa­til­ity, squeezed out to the wing in this cup tie be­cause Giroud is a first pick for Wenger when he is fit. Wenger said: “If you look at the his­tory of my strik­ers, most of them have been able to play in dif­fer­ent for­ward po­si­tions over the year.

The only one who hasn’t and prob­a­bly has to play up­front is Giroud, but the rest have been able to play wide if nec­es­sary.”

In the days of Thierry Henry, he could pop up wher­ever he wanted, but Wel­beck is play­ing with more tac­ti­cal dis­ci­pline as he works his way into this team.

Against one of the best sides in the Cham­pi­onship, Wel­beck started on the left and swapped with Alexis Sanchez to play on the right af­ter the break.

His af­ter­noon ended when he was re­placed by Theo Wal­cott in the 71st minute.

Even though he is on the same pitch as some play­ers with gen­uine pedi­gree — Alexis Sanchez, Me­sut Ozil and Santi Ca­zorla op­er­ate at a dif­fer­ent tech­ni­cal level from the oth­ers — this is not what he signed up to. When he ar­rived from Manch­ester United at the end of the sum­mer trans­fer win­dow, Wel­beck want-

AR­SE­NAL striker Danny Wel­beck

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