Euro 2012: Danny Welbeck desperate to take England chance

By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport in Krakow
Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck

Danny Welbeck is determined to lay claim to England's number nine shirt on a permanent basis after being handed his chance at Euro 2012.

The Manchester United striker, 21, impressed in the 1-1 draw with France in the opening game.

And he is expected to keep his place for Friday's meeting with Sweden.

"I've been put in the position of wearing the number nine shirt for England but it's not something that I'm scared of," Welbeck said.

"I'm relishing the opportunity. I want to play every game otherwise I wouldn't be here.

"I've been playing for England since I was 14 and it felt like a natural progression just to step up into the senior side. I was privileged and honoured to make that final step up into the senior side."

Welbeck was preferred to Andy Carroll by manager Roy Hodgson for the opening game in Donetsk and is hoping to retain his place in the side after Wayne Rooney returns from suspension.

Welbeck has used Manchester United team-mates past and present as his inspiration.

He added: "Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney were two people I looked up to. I have had the chance grow up watching them, train with them and get some tips off them as well.

"My first England memory was when Michael Owen scored that goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup."

Welbeck now hopes England can become more potent when they face the Swedes after making a solid start in Group D.

Hodgson's side were satisfied with their performance in the draw against the French but the United forward wants to see more of an attacking threat.

He said: "We would have liked to have got off with a win in our first group game but as a team we want to get forward, get more goals and get more bodies into our attacking third to create more opportunities.

"Once those opportunities arrive I'm sure the strikers will put them in."

Welbeck knows Sweden represent wounded opposition after losing their first game, 2-1 against co-hosts Ukraine.

He said: "It's a tournament and if you lose your first game you've definitely got to win your second. They're going to want to win it and so will we, so it will be a good contest."

Hodgson will make a decision on the fitness of midfield duo Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker before the game in Kiev.