Welbeck can crack United code
Danny Welbeck has grabbed the Old Trafford lifeline thrown him by his loan move to Sunderland. And former United striker Andy Ritchie believes the 20-year-old Mancunian's CV acquired at the Stadium of Light will ensure he has a better fighting chance of bucking the trend at Old Trafford and establishing himself in Sir Alex Ferguson's squad. Not since Mark Hughes and Norman Whiteside in the 1980s have the club had a home-grown goalscoring front-man who has come from the ranks to be a long-standing senior figure. A born-and-bred Mancunian striker is even rarer. Ritchie himself was the last local attacker to make the breakthrough from United's youth team to the first XI between 1977 and 1980. Ritchie eventually fell victim to the policy of buying in the finished goalscoring article when the Reds paid Leeds a then club record fee of £350,000 for the proven strike qualities of Scottish international Joe Jordan. But half-way through a loan spell on Wearside that has seen Welbeck score five goals in his last six appearances, Ritchie reckons his fellow Manc has been given the perfect platform to battle toe-to-toe eventually with any big money imports. Danny had shown flashes of brilliance and scored some tremendous goals for United last season but he just wasn't producing it for long periods in the game, Andy told M.E.N. Sport. That's tough to achieve when you are not playing week in, week out. It is a difficulty for young players. You cannot afford to be fazed by the pressure of playing at Old Trafford for United because you might not get too many chances. You have to have a special aura about yourself to be able to cope. It is hard to teach that. But Danny has been given a brilliant opportunity to learn how to deal with it. Taster He had a taster last season and now he has moved up a level to discover what it is like playing every match in the Premier League in front of the kind of big crowds Sunderland get. That is a great background to have for when he returns to United and has a go at making the grade at Old Trafford. He looks now like he has a better chance than ever of coming back to United for good. The manager has used the loan system before and seems to know just when young fringe players need to go out elsewhere and it has worked out fantastically well for Danny. You can play reserve team football for too long and Danny was at a stage where he needed to be tested more. There is so much pressure on clubs to produce right now that the time given to younger players is not afforded to the majority. United are better than most but there is still that constant pressure for success. Money talks and bringing in a ready-made player happens - especially a goalscorer. That kind of player is at a premium. It can be tricky to juggle opportunities for young players when you are faced with that expectation. Even in my day it went on. United bought Joe Jordan in when I was desperately trying to get games to make an impression. They weren't going to not play him were they? After being given permission to speak to Aston Villa, Newcastle and Chelsea I took the hint and moved on to Brighton! But Danny has been given this great chance to be monitored elsewhere and have the opportunities every week he wouldn't have got at United." Does Welbeck have what it takes to succeed with United? Have your say.
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