Welbeck wants to match Beckham’s England record at 2018 World Cup

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The Arsenal forward has taken his international goal tally to 16, leaving him just one effort short of the Manchester United and Real Madrid legend

Danny Welbeck has David Beckham’s England goal record in his sights, with the Arsenal forward just one effort away from emulating the Manchester United and Real Madrid legend.

The Gunners star boasts an impressive strike rate for his country, finding the net for the 16th time in his most recent outing against Costa Rica.

Welbeck earned his 39th cap in that 2-0 victory for the Three Lions and will head to the 2018 World Cup in confident mood.

Helping Gareth Southgate’s side to make a positive impression in Russia is the ultimate ambition for all concerned, but matching Beckham’s 17-goal haul is providing added inspiration for a man who has never been prolific at club level.

Welbeck told reporters on his targets for the weeks ahead: "Everybody watched David Beckham growing up, it's nice to hear I'm one away.

"Obviously I want to keep on getting more game time for England and scoring more goals.

“I’m looking forward to achieving that but I don't want to rest on my laurels, I want to keep improving.

"My most outstanding moments watching England were Michael Owen's goal [against Argentina] in '98 and Beckham's free-kick against Greece at Old Trafford.

“He was such an inspiration for players all around the world."

While Welbeck is determined to improve his England record, he will face fierce competition for places this summer.

Marcus Rashford England 2018

A starting berth will be hard to come by, while Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford – who scored a sublime opener against Costa Rica at Elland Road - and Jamie Vardy will all be hoping to see more game time than the 27-year-old Arsenal frontman.

“Marcus scored a hell of a goal and Vards was dangerous through the whole game, there's a lot of competition in the squad," he added.

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"But I have a good record scoring goals for England. I'll always make those runs and be there to try and stick it in the back of the net.

"That healthy competition ups everyone's game. Every time we meet up with the squad there's great camaraderie, it's a very enjoyable environment to be in and I'm really excited for the coming weeks."

England open their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on June 18 before going on to face Panama and Belgium in their other Group G fixtures.

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