Welbeck is only going to get better, insists United boss Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson has warned wary Premier League defenders that Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck still has a lot of growing up to do.
Welbeck's introduction to the United first-team has been one of the major bonuses for Ferguson this season.
The 21-year-old was part of the new wave of Red Devils that took the early weeks of the campaign by storm.
Eye for goal: Danny Welbeck scores United's crucial late winner at Arsenal last weekend
However, after a month on the sidelines with a muscle injury picked up on England duty in November, Welbeck has hit a rich vein of form, scoring four times on his last six appearances and taking his tally to three in three games with his late winner at Arsenal last weekend.
It represents the kind of return that saw Ferguson predict Welbeck would gatecrash Fabio Capello's World Cup squad in 2010. A succession of niggling problems prevented that from happening. But now the Manchester-born striker is fulfilling his potential, even if Ferguson feels there is still a bit of physical development left.
'We were always aware of Danny Welbeck's ability,' said the United boss.
'The issue with him now is addressing the physical side. When he was 16 he had problems with his knees because he was growing, then he had some thigh problems.
'It was nothing serious, just a matter of waiting for Danny to develop into a man, which we are seeing the signs of now.
'He has a great physique but there is still more to come. Our stats show there's still a bit to do before he becomes a complete adult.'
One area that doesn't need much assistance is attitude. It was interesting to make a comparison between last weekend's young match winners. Whilst Mario Balotelli has got himself into all kinds of scrapes since his arrival at Manchester City, other than a failure to sign a new contract, which Ferguson insists is not an issue, Welbeck has largely kept himself away from the headlines.
Happy days: Welbeck celebrates his winner at Arsenal
'He has a good attitude, although he should have, he's a young player with an opportunity at Manchester United,' said Ferguson.
'That's one of the reasons you pick these players, because they show their temperament as they come through the youth programmes and the reserves.
'I am always confident about their temperament, their attitude to the game and their enthusiasm to play.
'In terms of judging young players, I don't think we've ever failed in that respect.'
Having been restricted to the scope of youngsters they could attract to their academy due to FA rules on recruitment, United have had to use their extensive number of scouts to trawl the local area.
As a boyhood United fan, and a close friend of Wes Brown, who also grew up in the Longsight area of the city, Welbeck was always likely to gravitate to the Red Devils.
It maintains a tradition that goes back decades, and came to fruition most notably with the 'Class of 92' which provided a core of locally-born players for both United and England.
The man for all seasons: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Now, Ferguson feels others are emerging from the United side that won last year's FA Youth Cup, although it hardly seemed like an accidental oversight that he failed to include controversial youngster Ravel Morrison amongst the players to watch out for.
'The team that won the FA Youth Cup last year were almost all local boys and they're all starting to emerge in their own different ways,' he said.
'Most of them have been involved in the first-team squad this season; the two Keanes (Michael and Will), Larnell Cole, Jesse Lingaard, Zeki Fryers, Paul Pogba and young Ryan Tunnicliffe, who is at Peterborough and playing regularly in the Championship at the age of 18. That's good going.
'Obviously the difference is that in 1992 that group all got into the first-team at more or less the same time and managed to stay in it.
'That's the big test for these young players and it will be interesting to see if they manage it.'