When Danny Welbeck was announced as one of the members of England’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad, there was a lot of moaning and groaning from around the nation. A lot of people felt like he didn’t deserve to be in that kind of position, and others felt there were just better options available. However, no matter which way you turn, there’s no denying that the 27-year-old is a proven commodity when it comes to international football.
Last night, the England forward made good on Gareth Southgate’s decision to include him in the squad by netting his 16th senior goal in just 39 appearances. When you consider just how impressive that return is in comparison to his record with Arsenal, it soon becomes clear that this is a man who can be utilised effectively under the right circumstances.
Obviously, there’s a good chance that he won’t even step foot on the pitch in Russia, with Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford all being viewed as better options in the squad – and rightly so. Still, given that many people were criticising the lack of depth in Southgate’s squad, it’s nice to see that the likes of Welbeck are still able to throw out a few surprises every now and then.
That goal last night alone could be good news for Arsenal, too. Even if Danny doesn’t see the light of day at the tournament, he’ll come back to the Emirates with something to prove. Sure, he’ll be happy just to be on the plane to Russia, we all know that what he really wants is to be playing consistent football from the first group stage game until England’s World Cup swansong.
In our opinion, the fact that Welbeck going to the WC at all speaks volumes about how underrated this England squad is. We all know that it’s easy to get swept up in the World Cup fever, especially given how much the media likes to promote the idea of us winning the tournament, but things really do feel different this time around.
The expectations are lower than ever before and yet, this young England squad feel like they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve. If they can progress through the group stages, then who knows what’s possible in the knockouts.
Will Danny Welbeck feature for England this summer?