Danny Welbeck on Graham Potter, playing abroad and the World Cup
In our exclusive interview, the Brighton striker talks through last season and looks ahead to the World Cup later this year.
Danny Welbeck has amassed 273 Premier League appearances for five different clubs and won 42 England caps across a 14-year career.
Now at Brighton and Hove Albion, leading online betting company Betway sat down with him for an interview about last season, what it's like working under manager Graham Potter and the upcoming World Cup, plus plenty more.
How do you feel the 2021/22 season has gone for you and for your club?
As a team, we reached the Premier League record points total for Brighton with three games to go. It’s probably as successful a season we could have hoped.
We’ve also learned a lot. There have been ups and downs and there is plenty to look back and reflect on to see how we could have been better in certain periods.
Do you ever start the season with any expectations?
Yeah, I think we have to.
We had an expectation where, first and foremost, we want to stay in the Premier League. Beyond that, we wanted to see if we could push into that top 10.
Of course, we have expectations and they help us to try and reach those goals.
Brighton have a highly-rated manager and coaching staff, what’s it like to work with them every day and how do they improve you as a player?
With the coaches and manager here, everything’s pretty clear and set out.
When you go into a match, you know all the details of how we want to play against our opponents, how we’re going to exploit their weaknesses and how they’re going to respond. You go into a match knowing exactly what the manager wants.
It’s the Premier League and every single game is tough, it’s not going to be straightforward, so we do have that bit of freedom.
There are clear outlines, there’s a structure for you to work on as a team. In training, he’ll say that this is the guideline and then it’s up to us to go from there and express ourselves.
The manager clearly puts a lot of trust in you, how much confidence does that give you?
It really gives you a boost to want to do your part for the team.
Obviously, the players are the ones on the pitch, so they’ve got to have some responsibility.
There are teams we face that we know beforehand that they will have more of the ball and then there are details we need to emphasise.
Maybe we have to be a bit more compact defensively, spring the ball on the counter-attack or maybe move the ball from side to side.
But we are very well prepared going into each game.
How does Brighton's exciting style of play differ from other teams you have played for?
It’s completely different.
When I was growing up, I was at teams where we were expected to win every single game. If we drew one, then it would be liked we had failed and we weren’t successful.
At Brighton, it’s different.
Obviously, going into games, you want to get the three points, that’s the main reason for coming. That’s the sort of mentality that we’re now creating. We want to build on that, to the point we have a possibility of winning every single game.
As one of the most experienced members of the team, how do you feel about being someone other players look up to?
I’ve been through a lot with my experiences in football and the Premier League, so I’m always open to everyone.
I just want to give as much advice and help out as much as possible with young players coming through or players that have just joined.
It’s difficult if you come from abroad, if you’re on your own or you don’t have your family with you.
I’m just trying to be as warm and welcoming as possible, but also let them know that the Premier League is no joke, is it?
Have you ever considered taking that into coaching and management?
At the moment, I’m just focusing on the playing side of things and I’m not looking that far ahead. I’ve still got time to think about that side of things.
If I do it, I want to go into it with 100 per cent, so it’s not a decision I’d like to be making now. I know I’ve still got plenty of time left before that.
Your career has taken you a long way from home, how have you felt about that and have you ever considered playing abroad before retirement?
Playing abroad is something that I’ll never rule out if it was the right opportunity for me, you can never say never in football.
I’m a Manchester boy at heart and obviously I’ve moved to London and then to Brighton. Football takes you to different places and you get to experience a lot of things.
You never know what’s going to happen next, but I’m pretty comfortable with the fact I’ve been away from Manchester for a number of years.
It’s very, very nice to go back and see family and friends. But I’ve got a very close family, they’re always back and forth with my friends coming down to watch games.
Even though I’m far from home, I’m never too far away.
Moving about like that, do you feel more enriched from living in different places and experiencing different cultures?
It’s evolved me as a person as well as a player.
That's one of the joys of football, you can go to different places and experience different communities. You move away you and you’re living away from your parents, it definitely helps you as a person as well.
Who do you think is going to win the World Cup and why?
I want England to win the World Cup.
In the last couple tournaments we’ve got very close and have got the experience now of being in the latter stages of major competitions. The next step is to lift that trophy.
One of the headlines of the draw was England v USA, how do you see that rematch from 2010 going?
I expect England to win that game.
USA have obviously come a very long way and their team looks good as well. They’ve improved a lot and it will be a big test for England.
But with the pool of talent and experience that England can call upon, I expect them to be winning that.