Scouting Report: Danny Welbeck

The Manchester United striker is growing frustrated at not being given regular opportunities to start but a somewhat promising outing against MK Dons is unlikely to keep him there
Danny Welbeck was not the only Manchester United player for whom Tuesday's Capital One Cup second round meeting with MK Dons was seen as a last chance to guarantee a stay at Old Trafford, but the England international certainly could have done with a big performance.

He might not have been the worst offender as the Red Devils were humiliated 4-0 by the League One side but what he did offer might not be enough to save his Old Trafford career. Goal evaluates his performance...

The game started quite brightly for United and Welbeck was as involved as anyone in some promising build-up play – and continued to threaten now and then even after Jonny Evans’s mistake saw the hosts take the lead.

Partnered with the more one-track-minded Javier Hernandez, the England star got stuck into his usual role of drifting around the forward areas, looking for space to link up with team-mates.

With an assortment of misfits and untried youth behind him, there were not a great many incisive passes to supply him with real chances on goal but Welbeck lacked the authority to take the Dons’ defence by the scruff of the neck and force many opportunities on his own. At times he engaged in a direct physical contest with his marker but was largely unable to get the better of him.

After Adnan Januzaj’s introduction for the injured Shinji Kagawa, the Belgian connected better than most with Welbeck but, for every two smart movements from the forward, there was a heavy touch that gave defences the chance to catch up.

Shortly before MK Dons sewed the game up on 59 minutes, Welbeck had one of the best chances to get Louis van Gaal’s side back into contention.

Having been presented the ball just outside the area by Andreas Pereira, the 23-year-old brought the ball with him out right from a central position, skilfully evading four surrounding defenders, before letting fly with a powerful shot.

His effort went wide but it was a reminder that, for all the frustration that Welbeck can sometimes inspire, there is a skilful and powerful striker trying to get out.

That is very much up for debate. Welbeck has had moments of vital contribution to the United cause over the years but has yet to really cement his development and demand a key role in the team that would not be better filled by a ready-made signing.

The England international has been linked with a move away all summer, with Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle and Sunderland among many interested Premier League clubs, but Goal revealed on Sunday that injury concerns might get in the way of an exit , with United willing to listen to offers around £15m.

However, Welbeck’s participation against MK Dons allayed some fears after the injury was scanned, so a last-minute departure is still a possibility.

Welbeck has asked for showdown talks with Van Gaal as he looks to get regular first-team football as a starter , though he remains behind Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney in the pecking order.

Talk of a surprise move to Arsenal has now gathered pace after Olivier Giroud’s latest injury and it might make sense for all parties as the England man aims to prove that he can start for a top-level team.