Welbeck takes his chance for England & should start alongside Rooney against Ukraine

The Manchester United youngster scored his first competitive international goal in the win over Sweden and should start with his clubmate ahead of Andy Carroll against Ukraine
 Wayne Veysey
 England Expert Follow on


England got away with playing two big men up front. Just.

Hodgson praises England display

But it would be stretching credulity to expect an Andy Carroll-Danny Welbeck alliance to be anything other than a decent one-off punt.

Given their combined record of 10 caps and two international goals before the Sweden game, a return of a magnificent headed opener and a balletic winner was beyond anyone's realistic expectations.

It was a night for Carroll to evoke the great deeds of targetmen of yore like pundit Alan Shearer, who was grinning like a proud father as he ran TV viewers through the intricacies of his fellow Geordie's finish.

Carroll provided the extra firepower that England needed but a combination of two orthodox forwards will not work against the superior techniques and ball retention of the likes of Russia and Croatia, never mind Spain and Germany.

A draw with Ukraine in Donetsk on Tuesday will see England through and Hodgson has already said he will shake up his forward line again to accommodate the return of Wayne Rooney.



It is Carroll who should make way, not Welbeck.

England have done as well as can be expected in the absence of their talisman but Rooney will no doubt line up in his favourite second striker role against the hosts, with full licence to roam and create.

Against France, Ashley Young played behind Welbeck with limited success.

Against Sweden, many thought Hodgson was simply dragging the team back to the knacker's yard of 4-4-2 as football's evolutionary struggle was temporarily suspended against England's Scandinavian nemesis.

It was Welbeck who played at the point of England's attack, with Carroll often dropping off to link the midfield.

While it would be unfair to make comparisons with Dennis Bergkamp and the other great deep-lying strikers, the evidence of the first two games is that Welbeck should be part of the attack against Ukraine.

In coaching parlance, he put in a shift against France without scaring their defence.

The Manchester United man's first competitive international goal on Friday night was not only a thing of great beauty but demonstrated an appetite for the big occasion that could lead to a lengthy career with the national team.

With his finish, his movement and appreciation of a chance, Welbeck had made a massive leap.

England need his ability to stretch defences and should stick with him on Tuesday.

Carroll can be demoted safe in the knowledge that Ukraine will not look forward to facing his aerial power should he be summoned for a late cameo in Donetsk.

Now comes Rooney and it is time for an all Manchester United forward line.