Danny Welbeck has spoken with Rabona Magazine about his football journey, which started with him getting dropped by Manchester City as a kid, then signing for United when he was eight. Welbeck lived on the same road as Wes Brown in Longsight and the former United defender was his inspiration as a youngster.
I went to Manchester United when I was eight. It was a weird one because I was actually at Manchester City before that doing some training and trials. I was on a trial period at City for a couple of months, I was playing for the age group above and they told my Dad just before Christmas that they didn’t want me to come back. My Dad kept it from me for a while, he didn’t want to spoil my Christmas. Then straight after Christmas we had a tournament with Fletcher Moss and there was a United scout there and he told me to come down a couple of weeks later. I went on a trial and I signed.
I first started playing football on the streets with my brothers and friends. I was just playing for the love of it. You still love it today and you feel like it’s the thing that you are born to do. Playing five-a-sides, on the street outside and you never lose those memories. As you start getting older, you start joining teams and the love for the game grows even more. I lived opposite to Wes Brown and he was a good inspiration for me. As a kid, I could see him going off to Lilleshall and then coming back to play football with us. Then getting into the academies, progressing through the ranks and just making that next step. You look up to so many players in the Premier League, talented players who excite you when you’re a young age.
I came through Fletcher Moss. They have produced quite a few players who have gone to City, United and a few other teams in the North West. Fletcher Moss helped me a lot. That’s where I started playing football, getting into the swing of things, playing against other local sides. Once I got scouted, it was quite quick. I remember my first day, as clear as anything, it was my first day and running onto The Cliff, the astroturf pitch, seeing all the boys, just joining in and enjoying it. I didn’t think: ‘it’s Manchester United.’ I just wanted to play my game, signed for the under-9s, then year after year you felt yourself progressing, being coached in the right way and then making the step up into the youth team from 15s and 16s, then onto the under-18s. Then you move up and there was Jim Ryan, Brian McClair and they helped me massively and, of course, the manager Sir Alex Ferguson who helped me so much when I started to break through.