The England international joined Arsenal for £16 million on transfer deadline day, with Van Gaal later revealing that he was happy to let the striker leave because his scoring record was below the standards required by United.
However the 23 year old started his Gunners career brightly, scoring four goals in his first five games for Arsenal, including his first senior hat-trick during the midweek Champions League game against Galatasaray. The youngster believes his improved scoring record is down to the fact that he is playing in his preferred position as a centre forward.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, he said:
Nobody can really criticise my finishing because they don’t really see me playing in a forward position too often. But now I am getting into these positions I want to be sticking the ball in the back of the net. I’m sure it’s the same with every other striker.
Obviously people can say I’ve not scored enough goals, but you stick the best strikers on the wing in a four-man midfield and see if they score goals.
If you’re getting goals and getting a run of games in your preferred position, your confidence is going to grow and performances are going to grow as well. That is something I am really looking forward to doing, building on those performances.
I wouldn’t say I feel different. Maybe beforehand, sometimes I wasn’t getting through on goal if I was coming from a four-man midfield.
Obviously it’s difficult to leave your position and go and get goalscoring opportunities. But I’m getting into these positions much more regularly now, and I’m looking forward to sticking the ball in the back of the net.
When I’m playing with these sorts of players, they are looking to slip the ball in behind. I am always ready for that, looking to make the movement right and get in behind the defenders. Tonight I did that a couple of times and scored a few goals.
I’m looking to build an understanding with the players and getting to know them better, it’s good to play with this calibre of midfielders, they are only going to create chances.
Welbeck‘s goal-scoring record with United has been the subject of much criticism, as 20 goals in 90 Premier League appearances would suggest the English international is inept as a purported striker. However many of his appearances were from the substitute’s bench and he never really played as a recognised No. 9 while at Old Trafford.
It is a feat in itself being able to break into the Manchester United setup as a striker and he was highly regarded by past boss Sir Alex Ferguson. It’s up to debate on how United should have used Welbeck, but Van Gaal criticising him after he left doesn’t make much sense.
However he settled in well at the Emirates and also responded to the criticism in the best possible way by producing a career best display in the midweek, which should be a slap to the face to those critics. He is just nearing 24 years of age and with tutelage and experience, this particular purchase should reach his instinctive and clinical best in the days to come.
Is it fair for Van Gaal to criticise Welbeck? Share your thoughts in the comments below.