Welbeck to heed Rio's advice

17 June 2014 08:17

England forward Danny Welbeck will heed the advice of former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand by taking more risks.

Despite only being 23, the forward's 24-cap haul highlights the trust and support manager Roy Hodgson has in his ability.

Welbeck has netted eight goals during those appearances - an impressive record former team-mate Ferdinand believes would be even better if he took a "few more risks".

"He keeps it as well as anyone else but at the top level you need to take risks," the ex-England defender told the BBC.

"He's a confident lad but he wants to be efficient. Sometimes as a defender you don't mind him taking chances in the final third for the right reasons."

Those comments were put to Welbeck on Monday - two days after England's defeat to Italy in their World Cup opener - and the attacker was clearly keen to adapt his game.

"I take what Rio says on board," he said. "He's seen me grow up and develop from a young kid, from 13.

"When I got into the first team he spoke to me about what I can do, my strengths and my weaknesses.

"He's helped me a lot as a footballer, and if he's telling me to take more risks I will take more risks.

"I spoke to him before and after the game, we're in regular contact, and he just wants me to be the best I can."

Asked what stops him taking risks, he said: "It's different risks.

"Sometimes he wants me in the box at a certain point, which is difficult playing on the wing with defensive duties. He says I need to be a bit more positive at times."

The fact Welbeck has yet to fine tune his game is no surprise given the number of roles he is asked to fulfil by club and country.

In Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Italy, he was deployed on the right flank before switching onto the left for the second half.

Neither role is his favourite, yet he knows his versatility and that of his fellow attackers makes England a bigger threat.

"I'd prefer to play down the middle, yes, but I'll play left, right, centre on the pitch," Welbeck said.

"The good thing with the forwards we've got, everybody is flexible. We can play in all three positions.

"I'll go into the middle for a couple of minutes and switch it when it's best to. It's good flexibility to have.

"You just go with it in the game. At certain times, Studge (Daniel Sturridge) might put out wide right or left, and it's there for you to maintain that position in the centre.

"We all rotate. The defenders don't know who they're up against and different kinds of players."

The forward is likely to start on the flanks again when England travel to Sao Paulo to take on Uruguay on Thursday after showing no ill-effects in the wake of a groin complaint.

Whether or not he will be alongside Wayne Rooney remains to be seen, with his club team-mate again at the centre of a debate about whether or not he should play.

For Welbeck, there is no questioning Rooney's quality.

''First and foremost, Wayne Rooney is a class player and I think wherever he is playing on the pitch he can make a massive impact,'' he said.

''I think all the forward players with England have the flexibility to move in and round, interchange positions.

''Obviously Wayne was on the left in the first game and in the second or third game he could be in a different position.

''Waz is the top all-time scorer for England currently playing, he has got 93 caps and he is very experienced. When he is on the pitch, he can make a difference.''

Source: PA