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Longsight-born Danny Welbeck is just 17, but he's trained with the first team for nearly a year. And the highly-rated striker, who came on to win a penalty against QPR, told United Review before the game that he's itching for more opportunities…



Your season has been disrupted with injuries so far. How's your fitness?
I started training recently and I feel OK. I injured my groin in the Carling Cup game against Middlesbrough… after that, I went away with England when I wasn't fully fit, played the game and tore a groin muscle. It's annoying because I missed nearly the whole of pre-season with tendonitis. I was dying to get back, then when I did I got the groin injury, so I've had to be really patient and now I'm ready to go.

You were among the stars of the show in against Boro in September – what are your memories of the night?
I was just delighted to make an appearance and play in front of so many people. Being a Manchester boy, growing up in Longsight, playing for United is just a dream. I only found out I was playing just before the game. I thought there was a chance I might start, and then the manager named the team, it hit me straight away. It focused me – and everyone was saying to keep my head.

You come across as a player who isn't easily flustered – were there any nerves before or during the game?
[Smiles] I wouldn't say if there were. Afterwards I was just hungry for more. If that's nervous, I want more nervous times!

Having trained with the first team for a few months now, do you feel part of the squad?
When I first joined up with the first team I was a little bit star-struck, but now I talk to them all and have banter with them – I tell them to “bring itâ€! There's nothing better than training with the first team. I'd rather be doing that every day than be out on loan somewhere, especially at my age. I'm 18 soon, I'm just hoping I can continue training with the first team and get in a few squads this season.

There's a lot of expectation for you within the club – do you feel any pressure?
Not really. I don't take too much notice of all that. I just play my own game and work towards justifying all their hopes. If I can keep doing that, hopefully I'll make a breakthrough.

Sir Alex has intimated that he'll blood a few youngsters in the Carling Cup again this season – are all the young lads raring for a game?

Definitely, we all are. There are some great players in the Reserves this year. Tom Cleverley and Danny Drinkwater have come on massively this season, and they are probably ready to step up as well.

Last year United's youngsters were shocked by Coventry. What are your memories of watching the game?
I was sat in the stand and I couldn't understand why we weren't winning, or at least doing better, since we had so many good players. When we lost, I remember thinking, “I've got to try my hardest to get to this stage next year.†Luckily I've managed to do it. Now I'm setting new goals and I'll be aiming to reach them too.

The young lads will all look to capitalise on any first-team openings – could you go all the way to Wembley?
Anything can happen in football. When we youngsters get together and play, we're always raring to go. We want to get in people's faces and, if we play together, I think it would be a really good combination and we can do really well. So, you never know.
 
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