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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welbeck hungry for more

Having enjoyed his first taste of senior football in the Reds’ Carling Cup win over Middlesbrough, 17-year-old Danny Welbeck has his heart-set on gaining more first-team involvement this season.

The tricky striker is highly thought-of inside Old Trafford, and he justified Sir Alex Ferguson’s faith with a sparkling 90-minute display in Tuesday’s win. Although he couldn’t cap his debut with a goal, Danny's display more than justified the beaming grin long he sported long after after the final whistle.

"It’s a great night, and a great experience to play at Old Trafford in front of thousands of people,” he told MUTV after the game. “I’m looking to take it all on board and just use it in the future for whenever I’m called upon.

“I’ve got to keep focused. I’m training hard every day and I can’t wait to be playing as much as possible. I’m just looking to train with the first team every day, as I’ve been doing, and try to push for the team every single week – that’s my goal.”

Welbeck was a constant menace to the Boro defence with his unpredictable forward play, and only two fine saves from Brad Jones denied him a goal to cement a dream debut.

Although frustrated to have missed out on a place on the scoresheet, Welbeck is almost certain to get another shot when United take part in the next round of the Carling Cup in early October.

“I thought I did well, particularly in the first half,” he said “In the second half I had a chance right at the start – I’ve watched it again and it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was at the time. But I’m proud and happy.

“It’s great to be playing with other great young players, and to learn off the older ones. It’s the best place to be and I’m loving it. The youngsters get a go, and in the next round I think we’ll see how it comes, see who we get and we’re definitely looking forward to it."

Boss in shock at horror tackle

Sir Alex Ferguson was horrified by the challenge from Emanuel Pogatetz which resulted in Rodrigo Possebon being stretchered off the pitch and needing oxygen.

The Brazilian midfielder has since been taken to hospital following a shocking lunge from the Middlesbrough captain midway through the second half.

"It looked a really bad one," Sir Alex told MUTV. "For the kid to make his first start and get an injury like that is pretty horrendous.

"I think everyone was numb for about ten minutes afterwards and it killed our momentum a little bit.

"I've seen a few replays of it and I don't want to see it again. It was just terrible."

The United boss was particularly disappointed by Pogatetz's reaction to the challenge with the Boro defender seemingly protesting his innocence.

"I couldn't understand it [his reaction], he should have walked straight off," declared the manager. "One of the guys on their bench was screaming that it was never a sending off and that there was nothing wrong with Rodrigo.

"But at least Middlesbrough have apologised. Gareth Southgate was very good. He understood the gravity of it and was very apologetic." will bring you the latest update on Possebon's injury when we have one.

Manchester United Vs. Middlesbrough Match Report

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Nani ensured United’s safe progression to the Carling Cup fourth round, but the 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough was marred by what looked to be a serious injury to Rodrigo Possebon.

The Brazilian was carried off following a horror tackle from Emanuel Pogatetez who was rightfully dismissed for the second half offence.

Earlier, Ronaldo’s 25th minute header was cancelled out by substitute Adam Johnson’s volley. Giggs calmly put United ahead ten minutes from time, before Nani slotted home a third in the fourth of nine minutes of injury time.

United fans have become accustomed to seeing many of the Reds’ budding young stars on show when the Carling Cup comes round, but with a number of first team squad members needing to sharpen up their match fitness, Sir Alex opted for a mix of youth and experience in his starting line-up. There were debuts for goalkeeper Ben Amos and striker Danny Welbeck, as well as first competitive starts for full-back Rafael da Silva and midfielder Rodrigo Possebon. United’s eldest statesman Ryan Giggs skippered the side, which also featured a host of first team regulars including Cristiano Ronaldo – starting his first game of the campaign, Nemanja Vidic and Anderson.

United started the brighter with Giggs and Ronaldo looking particularly menacing, the former almost fashioning a 3rd minute opening for the onrushing Welbeck with a right wing centre. But Brad Jones was alert to the danger and came out to punch clear.

It took the visitors 10 minutes to muster any kind of attack as Afonso Alves – a scorer of two debut goals against the Reds back in April – bore down on goal. Wes Brown ensured he would go no further, but Alves’ effort from the resulting free-kick was blocked by the wall.

A minute or so later, Nani stung the palms of Brad Jones with a fizzing effort. The Portuguese winger then clipped a near-post effort wide after some excellent interchanging between United’s attackers.

More neat interplay involving Welbeck, Ronaldo and Giggs let to a corner and a subsequent opening goal for the Reds on 25 minutes. And it was a familiar name on the scoresheet as Ronaldo held off the attentions of Didier Digard to power home Giggs’ inswinger.

The Reds almost doubled their lead three minutes later after a marauding run from Anderson down the left. Ronaldo was unable to reach his low centre, but the lively Welbeck was waiting at the back post. Jones did well to save with his feet and only some desperate Boro defending averted the danger after Anderson had been given a second chance to cross.

The game had developed into a lively encounter with the Reds dominating proceedings. But with Stewart Downing in their side, Boro still posed a threat from set-pieces and it was the England winger’s left wing centre which saw Reds’ stopper Ben Amos called into action for the first team as he dived to his left to claim David Wheater’s goalbound header.

A brilliant backheel from Rafael into the path of Welbeck, who slipped the ball to Ronaldo almost led to a second United goal just before the break, but Jones parried the winger’s fiercely struck low effort.

Jones was called upon immediately after the restart, saving well from Welbeck after the striker got on the end of John O’Shea ball over the top.

The Boro stopper stooped low to his right to grasp Nani’s 53rd minute shot after coming inside from the left wing. The Portuguese international should have done better soon after when he had the chance to put either Welbeck or Ronaldo through on goal, but overhit his pass.

It was all United, but out of the blue Boro drew level through substitute Adam Johnson on 56 minutes. Gary O’Neill’s high ball into the area was headed clear by Vidic, but only to the feet of Johnson whose first time volley bounced and bobbled past Wes Brown and crept inside Amos’ right-hand post.

It was a blow for United, but worse was to follow for the Reds when they lost Rodrigo Possebon after a shocking lunge from Boro skipper Emanuel Pogatetz which earned him a red card. A gaping wound displayed the external damage to Possebon’s right leg, but there was clearly more to it than that as the clearly distressed Brazilian lay in tears and had to be given oxygen before he was stretchered off.

A stunned and concerned Old Trafford erupted ten minutes from time when Ryan Giggs took full advantage of substitute Chris Riggott’s slip and nonchalantly clipped the ball over Jones.

The skipper went close to adding what would have been a brilliant third three minutes later, but Wheater was on hand to head his flicked shot off the line.

Tevez, Gibson and late sub Manucho – making his United debut – saw efforts go begging in the closing stages, before Nani took advantage of another defensive howler from the visitors and slotted home the Reds’ third in the prolonged period of injury time.

Team line-ups

UNITED: Amos; Rafael, Brown, Vidic, O’Shea; Nani, Anderson, Possebon (Gibson 69), Giggs © (Manucho 84); Ronaldo (Tevez 61), Welbeck.

Subs not used: Zieler, Cleverley, Gray, Eckersley.

BORO: Jones; Hoyte, Wheater, Pogatetz ©, Taylor; O’Neil, Digard (Riggott 69), Shawky (Johnson 46), Downing; Alves (Emnes 84), Aliadiere.

Subs not used: Turnbull, Arca, Walker, Craddock

Booked: Johnson. Sent off: Pogatetz

Attendance: 53,729

Manchester United Vs. Middlesbrough Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [3 - 1] Middlesbrough (Carling Cup)
25' [1 - 0] C. Ronaldo
56' [1 - 1] A. Johnson
79' [2 - 1] R. Giggs
90' [3 - 1] Nani


Ronaldo set to start

Sir Alex Ferguson will chuck Cristiano Ronaldo in with the Carling Cup kids tonight for his first start of the season. Ronaldo made his long a waited comeback from the bench in Manchester United's last two games - against Villarreal and Chelsea - after undergoing the summer ankle surgery which forced him to miss the start of the new campaign. United's star performer would not normally feature in the Carling Cup. The competition is last on Fergie's list of priorities, the one he uses to give fringe players and emerging youngsters a rare taste of first-team action. But Fergie, mindful that Ronaldo needs valuable time in competitive games to get back to full fitness, is ready to start with him in tonight's third-round tie against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.
David McDonnell, Daily Mirror