Welbeck pleased with how far he's come

Danny Welbeck could not help thinking how far he had come as he reflected on his crucial Champions League goal in the Bernabeu.

Danny Welbeck of Manchester United heads in the first goal against Real Madrid

Criticised by many for not scoring often enough, Welbeck picked the perfect moment to net for only the second time this season when he put Manchester United ahead against Real Madrid.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo ensured Welbeck's effort was not a winning one, it has given the Red Devils a slight advantage ahead of Tuesday's second leg at Old Trafford.

It has also enhanced a reputation that grew immensely during Euro 2012, given Welbeck has tended to reserve his most productive displays for times when he has been on England duty.

However, it would now be something of a surprise if Sir Alex Ferguson left the 22-year-old out of his starting line-up at Old Trafford next week.

Not bad for a youngster brought up in the same Longsight district of Manchester as Wes Brown, born of parents who both hail from Ghana.

"It was a great feeling to get a goal at the Bernabeu," said Welbeck.

"The whole occasion was immense, with the number of fans who travelled over and with it being such a big game.

"There was a little part of me thinking I have come a long way in a short space of time.

"But it is something I strived for since I was a little kid.

"I really wanted to play for Manchester United and that was one of the biggest games, so part of me did feel proud.

"But it also gave me the motivation to carry on and try to strive for more."

Welbeck's lack of goals is rather strange considering he was England's top scorer in 2012 and has never previously found it a problem, even if he is not amongst the most prolific members of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad.

The answer, in his view, is simple, and comes from the role he was asked to carry out in the first leg; out wide, trying to counter whilst not forgetting defensive duties against a side so dangerous on the counter-attack.

"I have not really played in my favourite position," he said. "I like to play as a striker but a lot of the time I have been out wide.

"I would like to get more goals, but it is obviously more difficult to get them when you are playing in wider areas."

Wayne Rooney has been given the same duties on a regular basis during his United career.

Indeed, he was repeating the job Welbeck was doing on the left down United's right-hand flank in Madrid last month, underlining his own selfless contribution to the cause.

It is anticipated more will be demanded of Rooney in attack at Old Trafford, which may mean a switch inside in preference to Shinji Kagawa, who nearly made an impact at the Bernabeu without actually managing it.

That move would possibly trigger a recall for Antonio Valencia, although clearly Ferguson does have options, as he does in the form of Tom Cleverley, Ryan Giggs and Anderson in central midfield if Phil Jones fails to recover from an ankle injury.

"It is the part of the season everyone looks forward to," said Jonny Evans.

"We are involved in everything and the competitions are all coming in one week.

"The league is the one everyone wants to win but if you asked any player in the Premier League, they would want to play in the Champions League.

"Being at Manchester United, you want that every single season and matches against teams like Real Madrid are ones you need to cherish.

"But we can't just think about what a fantastic occasion it is. We also need to perform."



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