• Premier League

Rooney defends goal-shy Welbeck

ESPN staff
February 4, 2013

Wayne Rooney has leapt to the defence of Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck, insisting that his fellow forward's poor scoring form is down to him being utilised on the wing more often this season.

Welbeck has only scored one goal for United this season, while Rooney has netted 13 times, Javier Hernandez 14 and Robin van Persie 22.

But Rooney believes Welbeck's drought is partly the result of the positions he has been playing, and he praised the 22-year-old's industrious approach and contribution to the United cause.

"We're not too concerned about him not scoring too many this season. He's a fantastic player who works hard and brings a lot of energy to the team," Rooney said. "He hasn't been playing up front a lot - he's been playing out wide. He's been doing a job for the team, which, as players, we're all grateful for."

Welbeck has three goals in his last three games for England but has not scored in 15 appearances for United. But Rooney said that reminds him of his past goal droughts when his versatility was a reason he had failed to find the net.

He added: "Everyone labels Danny as a striker and I have had that at times when I have played in different positions. Someone will bring up the fact that I haven't scored for eight games when I hadn't played up front! Danny has been out wide a lot this season. He is a great player and his time will come when he gets that run up front. I am sure then he will score goals."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.