David Moyes has revealed that Danny Welbeck’s stellar performance against Aston Villa on Sunday came after the Scot told the striker he needed to put in more time on the training ground.
Concerned by Welbeck’s lack of league goals this term since his brace in the opening game against Swansea, Moyes sat him down for talks at the end of last month.
Using Wayne Rooney as his point of reference, Moyes told Welbeck in no uncertain terms that his application simply was not making the cut.
It clearly worked, as the Longsight lad – who is widely criticised for his profligacy in front of goal – scored twice at Villa Park in archetypal poacher’s style.
“I’ve got to say we had a word with him about a month ago and we said that he needs to be the last off the training field,” said Moyes.
“Wayne’s out there practising his finishing each day, whether it’s taking free-kicks, shooting from tight angles or bending them in.
“I said, ‘Danny, you need to be out there every day finishing, even if it’s 15 minutes at the end’.”
The 23-year-old scored just twice for Manchester United last season and was written off by many as having no ‘end product’, with his mazy, aggressive runs more often than not ending in dispossession.
His manager admitted that he was slightly disappointed with having to bring the situation to Welbeck’s notice, but is pleased with how the striker has got on with it.
“I was a little bit [surprised], yes,” said Moyes. “I think the young boys here are educated to keep improving and practice, but sometimes you can, without knowing, slip away from that.
“So we just said, every day, give yourself an extra 10 to 15 minutes at the end of every session and practice all different types of finishing and let’s see if we can get more goals from you.
“He did, and to be fair he’s out [there]. He’s a quick boy and all round I think Danny has got an awful lot of attributes and he just has to say ‘hey, come on, I’m going to have to take this onto another level’. We’re trying to get him to do that.”
Welbeck has already bettered last season’s tally this term with five goals and two assists, and with Robin van Persie out injured for a month this is an opportunity he can ill-afford to miss.
Moyes revealed that before Sunday’s game he put it to Welbeck that if he sees himself as a striker, he needs to deliver the goals.
“What gets you a game as a striker? Goals,” said Moyes. “Whether you score them inside the box or outside the box, if you want to be a striker in the Premier League and especially at a club like Manchester United you have to be a goalscorer.
“I think he [Danny] needs to say ‘this is what I do and this is what I have to do regularly.’ We challenged them a bit on Sunday, told them to stand up and I thought Danny rose to the challenge and took the bait.”
Welbeck is likely to partner Javier Hernandez in tonight’s League Cup quarter-final with Stoke City at the Brittania Stadium, kick-off at 7.45pm.
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