Roy cools Welbeck expectations
England boss Roy Hodgson has cautioned against expecting too much of rising star Danny Welbeck ahead of Tuesday's crunch clash with Ukraine.
The 21-year-old was the Three Lions' matchwinner against Sweden in Kiev on Friday night, turning home Theo Walcott's cross 12 minutes from time with the deftest of airborne back heels.
It would have come as no surprise to Sir Alex Ferguson, who tipped Welbeck as an outside candidate to make the 2010 World Cup squad so certain was he of the youngster's progress.
The elevation has taken slightly longer, largely because Welbeck has taken his time to mature physically.
Clearly, there is still more developing for the Manchester-born forward to do, which is why Hodgson is so keen to play down expectations.
"I would do well to encourage you not to put too much pressure on the lad," said Hodgson.
"He had a wonderful season with Manchester United and Sir Alex has high hopes for him.
"Before we start building him up to the skies to knock him down, we should remember he has a lot of time ahead of him.
"I am happy with the progress he is making.
"The fact is the has broken into a team like Manchester United, then got games in the national team when he could still play for the Under-21s."
It is anticipated Welbeck will retain his place for Tuesday's qualification decider with co-hosts Ukraine despite the return of Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney from suspension.
The pair struck up an impressive partnership this season, scoring an incredible 30 goals between them on the 18 occasions they started together.
That statistic alone may shape Hodgson's thinking, particularly as Ukraine are not expected to be quite as troubled defending high balls as Sweden so obviously were, a crucial factor in Andy Carroll's selection.
Yet it is also apparent Hodgson does not want to pin too much on Welbeck just yet.
And when the pressure is not quite as intense, it would be no surprise if he was given a break from his seven-cap fledgling England career that has now brought him two goals in three games.
"With the quality of players we have, hopefully I will be able to use him in the same way Sir Alex has done at United; sparingly from time to time," said Hodgson.
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