Watford’s Danny Welbeck has thanked the fans for the “great reception” he received upon making his debut on Saturday at Everton. Injuries have famously plagued the England striker, prompting him to seek a fresh start this summer once his contract at Arsenal had expired.
Competition for places at the Emirates meant he was likely to struggle to hold down a spot had he been fit and his woes resulted in him falling down the pecking order. Both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have arrived at the club in the last two seasons, meaning opportunities were set to be limited.
A January switch to Crystal Palace was mooted but an ankle injury in November 2019 put paid to those rumours of a switch to the Eagles and he missed the remainder of the season.
Watford snapped him up on a free transfer on August 7 and have signed a player with pedigree, having scored 16 times in 42 appearances for England.
Furthermore, he has also won the Premier League and two EFL Cups while at Manchester United and added an FA Cup winner’s medal to his haul at Arsenal.
The Hornets reached the FA Cup final last term but were crushed 6-0 by Manchester City at Wembley and appear to be suffering from somewhat of a hangover from that disappointing loss.
Javi Gracia’s side crashed to a disappointing 3-0 opening weekend loss at home to Brighton and their run without a goal continued on Saturday as they went down 1-0 at Everton.
One positive to come from the game at Goodison Park was the appearance of Welbeck, making his first outing for the club as he replaced Will Hughes after 67 minutes.
It was his first competitive outing since that ankle injury in November and while he looked in peak condition physically, Welbeck understandably admitted to feeling a “bit rusty”.
Gracia said he was “happy” to see the 28-year-old back on the field and has tipped him to play a leading role going forward.
For his part, the Longsight-born ace admitted it was good to be back. He is now confident that with a dose of lady luck and a strong run on the training ground, he can be up to speed sooner rather than later. “It was great to get on the field,” he told the club website. “It’s been a long time coming and something I’ve worked hard for. “I’ve not had a full pre-season and I’ve only had three or four training sessions, so it’s a bit new to me, being on the pitch with new players.”