Manchester United teenager Danny Welbeck is being targeted for an international call-up by Ghana – even though he is currently playing for England’s under-19 team.
The 17-year-old qualifies to play for the African nation through his parents, and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) is convinced that Welbeck would opt for the Black Stars rather than wait on a full England call-up.
GFA spokesman Randy Abbey said that they have been in continuous touch with United over the teenager. “The GFA president has been in constant talks with his family, and the response is quite encouraging," said Abbey.
Born to Ghanaian parents in Longsight, Manchester, Welbeck impressed for Manchester United the reserves last season and hit the headlines last weekend when he scored a wonder goal against Stoke after coming on as a substitute.
United manager Alex Ferguson has big hopes for Welbeck but doesn’t want him to rush him into the first team too quickly. “He's no doubt a Manchester United player, but he's only young," says Ferguson. "He needs time, but he's got a lot of marvellous things about him. He's a local boy, which is nice too.”
Welbeck appeared for England¹s Under 19 team on Tuesday night in the 1-0 defeat of Germany, setting up Arsenal¹s Henri Lansbury for the only goal. And with last night's first-team game studded with promising displays from younger players, Welbeck – who recently asked Ferguson if he could stay and train with United¹s first-team rather than be farmed out on loan – may entertain hopes of a full England call-up in the future.
Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor faced a similar situation last year when Nigeria coach Berti Vogts came calling for the player. Agbonlahor qualified to play for Nigeria through his father. But he turned down the chance and opted instead to play for England, making his full debut last night.
FFT.com interviews United fans might enjoy: Web Exclusives Wayne Rooney, Peter Schmeichel, Carlos Tevez Q+A Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistlerooy, One on One David Beckham, George Best, Boy's A Bit Special Danny Simpson Perfect XI Garth Crooks, Bryan Robson What Happened Next David May, Norman Whiteside Sing When You're Winning Dominic Monaghan, Ian Brown