Updated: Saturday, 22nd February 2020 @ 5:50am

Rio advice hotline: Welbeck admits ex-Manchester United team-mate always has risqué England tips

Rio advice hotline: Welbeck admits ex-Manchester United team-mate always has risqué England tips

| By MM staff

Danny Welbeck has been told to take more risks as England prepare for their crunch World Cup clash with Uruguay in Sao Paulo.

Welbeck has scored eight goals in 24 international appearances but former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand believes that record should be even better.

He claimed the 23-year-old striker, who he has mentored since his first team breakthrough, needed to be more confident in front of goal.

And Welbeck doesn’t disagree.

“Rio's advice is always welcome - he's known me since I was 13 and he's watched me develop,” he said.

"When I got into the first team at Manchester United, he spoke to me about my strengths and weaknesses and has helped me so much as a footballer over the years.

"We're in regular contact and he thinks I need to be more positive and take a few more risks. He wants me to get into that box but it's not always easy when you are playing wide and you've also got defensive duties."

Like Old Trafford team-mate Wayne Rooney, Welbeck is not being played in his preferred position by Roy Hodgson in Brazil.

He started on the right then switched to the left in the 2-1 defeat by Italy - and would prefer to occupy the more central position alongside Daniel Sturridge, currently being tussled over by Rooney and Raheem Sterling.

"I'll play left, right or in the centre but there's no secret I prefer to play down the middle," he said.

"But we are flexible and we've players who can play in all three positions and we can rotate in the game too. Hopefully defenders don't know what they are up against and it’s a big advantage for us.

''Wayne was on the left in the first game and in the second or third game he could be in a different position.

“He's got 93 caps and is one of England's best goalscorers of all time. That experience is invaluable to us and when he's on the pitch I know he can make the difference."

Meanwhile, England coach Gary Neville believes the debate over where Rooney plays has little merit.

“I think can cause damage on the left, he scored a goal against Ecuador and set a great goal up against Italy, so the idea he can’t play there is wrong,” he said.

“The manager will look at each game and he could play him in X, Y or Z position depending on the opposition.”

Main image courtesy of Vauxhall Football via YouTube, with thanks.