England forward Danny Welbeck will heed the advice of former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand by taking more risks against Uruguay tomorrow.
Despite only being 23, the forward’s 24-cap haul highlights the trust and support manager Roy Hodgson has in his ability.
Former PNE loanee Welbeck has netted eight goals during those appearances – an impressive record former team-mate Ferdinand believes would be even better if he took a “few more risks”.
“He keeps it as well as anyone else but at the top level you need to take risks,” the ex-England defender said.
“He’s a confident lad but he wants to be efficient. Sometimes as a defender you don’t mind him taking chances in the final third for the right reasons.”
Those comments were put to Welbeck and the attacker is clearly keen to adapt his game.
“I take what Rio says on board,” he said.
“He’s seen me grow up and develop from a young kid, from 13.
“When I got into the first team he spoke to me about what I can do, my strengths and my weaknesses.
“He’s helped me a lot as a footballer, and if he’s telling me to take more risks I will take more risks.
“I spoke to him before and after the game – we’re in regular contact, and he just wants me to be the best I can.
“Sometimes I’m needed in the box at a certain point, which is difficult playing on the wing with defensive duties. He says I need to be a bit more positive at times.”
The fact Welbeck has yet to fine-tune his game is no surprise given the number of roles he is asked to fulfil by club and country.
In Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Italy, he was deployed on the right flank before switching onto the left for the second half.
Neither role is his favourite, yet he knows his versatility and that of his fellow attackers makes England a bigger threat.
“I’d prefer to play down the middle, yes, but I’ll play left, right, centre on the pitch,” Welbeck said.
“The good thing with the forwards we’ve got, everybody is flexible. We can play in all three positions.
“I’ll go into the middle for a couple of minutes and switch it when it’s best to.”