Welbeck's coming of age suits England

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The Independent Football

The emerging talent of Danny Welbeck can help fill the void left by Wayne Rooney's absence at the European Championship, according to both players' club manager Sir Alex Ferguson. After first flagging him up back in summer of 2009 as a potential surprise inclusion in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad, Ferguson has believed in the 20-year-old Welbeck's international credentials for longer than almost anyone else.

Capello eventually played him in the friendly against Ghana, who also coveted his services, in March, and the striker was confirmed as an England player in a competitive game against Montenegro 10 days ago, when he came on to replace Rooney after his club-mate was sent off for the indiscretion that earned him a three-match international ban.

"I think he's ready for it, I really do," Ferguson said. "He's got a talent as good as any forwards in the English game. I think he's almost certain to get his chance now. As a kid here at nine years of age, Danny was always an outstanding talent.

"We had to be patient with him on the physical part because he grew very tall very quickly and he became very gangly and weak. With that, he suffered quite a few injuries in the knees, but you see him now and he's a massive boy, a big powerful lad and physically he's fine. Tactical awareness, that will develop, but he's certainly got the technical skills."

After impressing on loan at Sunderland last season, Welbeck earned a place in United's first team squad and has overtaken Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen to become third-choice striker behind Rooney and Javier Hernandez. He has now appeared in nine of their 12 games this season, scoring five times.