• World Cup

I prefer to play down the middle, Welbeck tells Hodgson

ESPN staff
June 17, 2014
Will Rooney remain in England's XI?

Danny Welbeck says he would prefer to play through the middle for England as Roy Hodgson's headaches mount over which roles to give his strikers.

But this Manchester United striker, at least, says he will happily sacrifice himself for the team as they battle to stay in the World Cup.

Welbeck said: "I'd prefer to play down the middle, yes, but I'll play left, right, centre on the pitch. The good thing with the forwards we've got, everybody is flexible. We can play in all three positions.

"It could be quite frustrating at times for anyone playing out of position, but that's football and you've just got to deal with it. It is the manager's decision and you've got to respect that, go into the game and give it 100%, give it your best shot."

The role of Welbeck's club and international team-mate Wayne Rooney has been central to most of the debate about how England should line-up after their 2-1 defeat by Italy.

Rooney started the game on the left instead of in his favoured central position and his place in the first team has been called into question, with the forward taking part in extra passing and shooting practice in a bid to prove to Hodgson he is worthy of a start against Uruguay in Group D on Thursday.

Welbeck started against Italy on the right and then swapped with Rooney for the second half and, as his complaints about playing a similarly wide - but midfield - role for United have shown, it is far from his favourite position.

However, he believes his position with England gives him more freedom. "I'll go into the middle for a couple of minutes and switch it when it's best to," said Welbeck, who is taking advice on how he should play from Rio Ferdinand. "You just go with it in the game. At certain times, Studge [Daniel Sturridge] might put out wide right or left, and it's there for you to maintain that position in the centre.

"We all rotate. The defenders don't know who they're up against and different kinds of players." On Rooney's frustrations and fears, Welbeck added: "Wayne is experienced He can pretty much handle any situation. He has been through a lot in his career. You say he is playing out of position, but he has played there plenty of times for United as well.

"He has not just played there in the Premier League, but the Champions League semi-final and final, so he is accustomed to that position and can play it well."

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