Football

WELBECK: I CAN BE PROLIFIC

FOLLOW ME: Striker Danny Welbeck (far left) leading the Three Lions' training. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

Danny Welbeck insists he has what it takes to be a prolific scorer for club and country.

The 23-year-old forward, who joined Arsenal from Manchester United on transfer deadline day, is set to start England's opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland after first-choice striker Daniel Sturridge suffered a thigh injury last week.

Welbeck's scoring record is somewhat underwhelming - 29 goals in 142 games for Manchester United and eight in 27 for the national team - but he believes he can improve his goals-to-games ratio, especially if he plays in his favoured centre-forward position.

"I prefer to play as a centre forward," he said.

"We'll see (about his scoring rate) when I get my opportunity to do that.

"I've never had the opportunity to get a consistent run of games as a No. 9, but have faith in my ability."

With the international retirement of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, Welbeck now finds himself among the most senior members of Roy Hodgson's England squad and he admits it is time for his game to reach its maturity.

He said: "I'm no longer a young player. There are a lot of younger players than me in the squad, by quite a few years.

"It's good to see that youngsters are being given the opportunity to play in the national side. You see in training the outstanding talent they've got and how it can have a massive impact.

"Coming to this stage of my career, I really want to push on and be the best I can be."

Welbeck has the support of Three Lions skipper Wayne Rooney, who said: "Danny is a lively player, an impact player.

"He is quick, he can score goals and I am sure with him getting the move to Arsenal now - hopefully he can play up front for Arsenal - that will really help him with England.

"He is a Manchester lad and I spoke to him a few times. It was a really tough decision for him to move but, for his professional career, he felt he had to.

"Hopefully he can get a few games up front which would benefit him for England." - PA Sport.