Gary Neville: Danny Welbeck's Arsenal hat-trick shows he has top-class striker potential
Sky Sports expert says Arsene Wenger can do what he did with Thierry Henry
Last Updated: 03/10/14 4:20am
Gary Neville says Danny Welbeck can emerge as a top-class centre forward, - but it’s too early to compare him to Thierry Henry.
The forward, who signed from Manchester United on Transfer Deadline Day, became only the third Arsenal player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League, after Thierry Henry and Nicklas Bendtner when he netted three in Wednesday night’s 4-1 win over Galatasaray.
Sky Sports pundit Neville said the finishes were reminiscent of the great Frenchman and hopes Arsene Wenger can turn Welbeck into a great striker, as he did with Henry.
He told Sky Sports: “They were Thierry Henry goals, but I’m not going to compare him to Thierry Henry because he was one of the best players in the world and one of the best players we ever had in the Premier League.
“But remember what Arsene Wenger did when Thierry Henry came to Arsenal. I played against him as a 17-year-old at Monaco and he was very raw as a left-winger. His control was poor and he wasn’t a goalscorer in those early years.
“When he went to Arsenal it just took off for him and if Arsene Wenger can work with Danny Welbeck in the same way as he did with Thierry Henry he will get an absolute bagful of goals if he is consistently playing.”
Welbeck is only the sixth Englishman to score a hat-trick in the Champions League and Neville believes he has the potential to become a great centre-forward if he is given the chance to play in that position regularly.
The England coach believes he didn’t get enough opportunities to play as a striker at Manchester United, but can now hit a hot streak ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Chelsea.
“It’s about consistency for Danny in a number of areas,” Neville added.
“He is playing as a centre-forward regularly. He was in and out of Man United’s team and was also in and out of playing as centre-forward because he was on the left or right wing.
“The biggest thing is that his centre-forward play outside the box is sensational - his work-rate, and his touch – but it’s about his consistency of finishing. I think that will come from confidence and belief.
“Outside the box he is unplayable at times, he’s a nightmare. He plays against John Terry and Gary Cahill on Sunday and they will not want to play against him. He’s quick, he’s strong and just the last bit has got to be delivered more consistently.
“If he can get goals more consistently to his game you’ve got a real top-class centre-forward there.”