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Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge: Examining the Options of the Two Dannys

To say that Jack Wilshere’s loan spell at Bolton two years ago changed the face of English football would be an extreme exaggeration. However, the youngster’s positive experience at the Reebok did open the door for a different type of loan, one involving a young player gaining experience at a high level Premier League club, rather than dropping down a couple of divisions.

In the wake of Wilshere’s success, last season we saw two of England’s brightest talents go out on loan to Premier League clubs; Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge joining Sunderland and Bolton respectively. Both quickly ascended the ranks at their new clubs, with Welbeck fast becoming a fan favourite at the Stadium of Light, and Sturridge banging in the goals with confidence for Owen Coyle’s side.

Not even a disappointing U21 Euros from the duo could assuage the rising excitement about England’s future strike pairing; like so many failures before them, the Dannys are the next ‘big thing.’

So where does that leave the owners of the two players, Manchester United and Chelsea, two teams rich in striking talent, yet both unwilling to let a promising youngster leave in case of an injury crisis? Sir Alex Ferguson has proven over the years that he is not averse to giving youth its chance, while Andre Villas Boas will likely want to avoid risk taking in his first season in charge of a club with a history of managerial casualties.

Both managers seem to remain undecided about the prospects of their young guns. Ferguson has already promised Michael Owen increased playing time, while the return of striker Federico Macheda from Sampdoria will see seven strikers competing for a maximum of two places.

At Stamford Bridge, Torres’ arrival last January indicated that former manager Carlo Ancelotti was less than confident in the abilities of Daniel Sturridge, though the duo’s differing fortunes made Chelsea’s former manager look a bit foolish. Still though, Villas Boas will likely start his fifty million pound man ahead of former City striker Sturridge, while Drogba, Anelka and Kalou will all see themselves as the occupants of the next three striking spots.

If either of the clubs were to make their player available on loan, there would be suitors aplenty. Both proved last year that they can guarantee goals in the Premiership.

But as always, a loan move comes with risks. The potential pit fall of a managerial change mid season, or a failure to settle, could see one year in either of the footballers’ short careers wasted.

Stagnation and bench warming are two afflictions which have struck many youngsters unwilling to go out on loan; both Sturridge and Welbeck are cocky enough to think that when given a chance they would take it, but often a footballer’s opinion of himself differs drastically from that of the manager.

Neither will want to slip into a perpetual cycle of loan here, loan there, yet both should be on the guard against years spent as back up for more illustrious team mates.

If no striker departs from either Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford, then both players really should go out on loan; they cannot risk delaying their development any farther.

Too many players have wasted away at big clubs, and it would be tragic to see Welbeck and Sturridge meet the same fate; the English national team needs youngsters like the Dannys to improve year after year.

In the past, the Dannys’ dilemma was one constantly debated over in the back offices of British clubs, a conundrum that yielded no one solution for everyone, but an ever changing array of options, varying player by player.

However, the actions of both Manchester United and Chelsea over the next few weeks, and their subsequent successes or failures, could go some way to setting an important precedent; a benchmark situation for other clubs to use while evaluating their own young up and comers.

The future of Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge should begin to become clearer over the next couple of months, but until then, their prospects will be the subject of much debate and conjecture- both inside the clubs themselves, and throughout football’s online universe.

Editor’s note: Read more by David Yaffe-Bellany at In For The Hat Trick and follow him on Twitter @INFTH

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  1. RomaChelsea-American

    July 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this post! I am not a MUFC fan but I do like Wellbeck a lot and I want to see him get more PT. As of right now he has not gotten any minutes on the US Summer tour.

    As for Sturridge (& McEachran), I agree a that new coach is not likely to play a youngster. Which stinks. I expect Chelsea to fall off like the other old championship caliber teams where a bunch of vets try to tape things together for one last run.

  2. Jim

    July 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    The ManU Danny situation makes me that much more curious why Sir Alex re-signed Michael Owen. I’m wondering why he didn’t give that spot, which is only the fourth striker spot anyway, to Macheda or Welbeck. Now both will have to go out on loan again, and Sampdoria being relegated takes out a landing spot for Macheda. Strange……but most of the time Sir Alex knows what he’s doing (cough, Bebe, cough).

    • MUFC77

      July 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Macheda will go on loan to a premier league club. He had a horrible spell in Italy and he needs to get Epl experience this season. Other than his goal against Villa he hasn’t done much, when he has started a meaningful game he’s been invisible up front. I think its only a matter of time before he ends being sold on to another club.

      He would do well at a mid level team like Everton who desperately need new strikers but dont have the cash too buy. Its also well reported SAF is an admirer of young Jack Rodwell and if Macheda went to Everton and they wish to buy him later on he can be used in a cash + player deal to get Rodwell.

      • MUFCforlife

        July 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm

        As much as that deal would make actual sense, I’m not sure that would ever happen because Rodwell has become SO over-hyped. Seriously, Man United get Ashley Young for less than 20 and this guy’s price tag is 25?! Ridiculous.
        I think Macheda does have his worth. Sampdoria was a bad situation and for his age, he needs to be sourrounded by players giving him good service. He’s done well for the u21 Italy team and at the end of the day, he’s still only 19. There is still a world of potential.

        • MUFC77

          July 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm

          This will be a big season for Rodwelll. Like you say he has become over hyped since he hasn’t really progressed much since he come on the scene with Everton 2-3 years ago. I know hes had some injuries last season but its about time he started showing his ability’s on a regular basis.

          As for Macheda I haven’t seen him play at all for Italy u21 so i’ll take your word for it that hes done well. I just cant help but think we have another Pique & Rossi situation on our hands. The kid needs to be playing regularly for him to improve but I just dont see how hes going to get that playing time at Utd.

          If we didn’t have Owen and Berba then Wellbeck and Macheda would be great 3rd and 4th strikers, as it stands right now id say he’d be 6th in line to start behind Rooney, Hernandez, Berba , Owen and Wellbeck. Id hate to see us sell him and then he turns into a great player like Pique and Rossi.

          • MUFCforlife

            July 20, 2011 at 2:18 am

            I agree, I don’t want another Pique or Rossi story to happen here. I feel that Owen is a nice roster member but his role won’t change much from last year and at this point, he’s very injury prone. I think it would be too much to ask for Macheda to be a third striker because of his age and lack of experience. This is why I trust in Sir Alex because he never seems to throw youngsters out with too much off a load form the onset. He’s a master at easing in players over the years form young ages. That’s why Berbatov is important for this year because he takes the load off Welbeck and Macheda and allows them to gain valuable experience without too much expectations. I think Berbatov (and Owen) will be let go after this year to make way for the future in Macheda and Welbeck.

  3. PaulfromMiami

    July 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Ferguson has assured Welbeck that he will be given a chance to prove himself this year. its a shame Caroll went for 35 million when Danny’s ability can match his if not surpass it.

    On Chelsea: I dont think Chelsea is the place for a young players to develop. So i think Sturridge should pray that he is involved in that deal for Modric. He can go to the Spurs and impress there. Wilshere gets a lot of hype but i think as a young footballer sturridge is up there with him. He is really good on the ball, see the field well and can accurately strike it.

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