12 September 2014

Welbeck tries to figure out Van Gaal's thinking...

Having been snubbed once in his youth by Man City, Danny Welbeck was thrilled to get snapped up in short order by their rivals, Man U. Having grown up with the club, then, he was naturally a bit disappointed when he became surplus to their needs. Despite a stable of ageing, increasingly injury-prone and sulking scorers in Rooney and van Persie, Welbeck, who had started to see himself as the face of Man U's future, was instead shunted aside when the club brought in yet another ageing, injury-prone scorer, further blocking his progression and development as a player for the club he had grown to love. However, he realised and rationalised to himself that this is modern football—no room for such sentimentality, for it is a cold, hard business. It was then that he read Van Gaal's assessment of him...

Picking up [insert name of tabloid here], Welbeck was taken aback as he took the headline: Welbeck not prolific enough for Van Gaal. Cocking his head to the side, Welbeck scanned the article until he could find just where it was that Van Gaal had derided him. Soon enough, he found it:
I have given all the players the chance to convince me of their qualities. With Danny Welbeck, yes, he was here from when he was nine. After coming back from Sunderland, he has played three seasons for Manchester United. But he doesn't have the record of van Persie or Rooney, and that is the standard. That is why we let him go—also because of Falcao, and the youngsters who can fit in....We give youth players a chance. The question is if they take the chance. It is, of course, more risky, but I think it is the only way to do it. I am always willing to give young players chances, but they have to take them.
Welbeck threw the paper to the ground in disgust. He paced the floor, agitated, even angry. Eventually, his muttering grew in volume.
     "I don't have the record of van Persie or Rooney? Who does? I'm 23, just now coming into my own, realising my potential. Where was van Persie at when he was 23? Not much further along than I am now. Take away one season at Feyenoord, and I'm better than he was, I'll tell you that."
     Welbeck skimmed the article again. His jaw clenched. "Rooney. I'll give him Rooney. I can't compete with that, but c'mon. It's apples and oranges, innit? It's his club.Man U goes through Roo, we all know that. Meanwhile, I'm out on the wing. I don't get the chances he was getting. Heck, I don't the chances he gets now. Between him and Robin, I'm afraid to shoot. God forbid I fail to put it in the back of the net. Even if I do score, they glare. If I take a shot, I'm frozen out of the next 10 minutes of the match. No touches at all unless I'm dropping back to defend. Why doesn't Van Gaal see that?"
     Welbeck continued to fume. He thought back to England's midweek friendly against Switzerland, when he stole a chance at scoring from Rooney, who had headed down a pass into the box to attempt a shot. Welbeck, running in from the right flank, considered his options and realised that he no longer had to defer to the veteran. (Skip ahead to the four-minute mark). No longer would the daily debasements continue, and so he swung in and had a crack at it, only for Djourou to block it. Still, it felt good. It felt right. No longer was he deferring. No longer would he deny his talent.
     He glanced down at the crumpled newspaper, where Van Gaal's imperious face peered back up at him.
     "'Give young players a chance', he says. 'they have to take them.' Fine. Fair enough, Mr. Van Gaal. I guess you gave me my chance. You sub me on twice for, what is it, 45 minutes, and call that a chance? Hmph. It seems we tied those matches against Burnley and Sunderland, sir, with Rooney and van Persie leading the line. Fair enough. We'll see who has the 'qualities' you seek in a scorer. I wonder what I'll do when I'm more than a water-carrier for divas. Somehow, Mr. Van Gaal, I'll make you regret the day you let me leave. Who knows? Maybe it will be as early as Saturday. Between now and then, I want to thank you for motivating me to prove myself, even if that wasn't your intent."
     With that, Welbeck stalked off, chin thurst forward, as he contemplated what life would be like at a club that does in fact value player-development and where he might actually get to score a goal without looking over his shoulder at a teammate he had somehow defied...
     "I'll show him. I'll show Roo and Rob as well. No one puts Welbz in a corner..."