DANNY Welbeck admits he was a relieved man that his journey back to Wearside wasn’t redirected for nothing.
Sunderland hitman Welbeck made his senior England bow as a late substitute in last night’s 1-1 draw with Ghana – virtually ending speculation over the 20-year-old’s allegiances at international level.
The on-loan Manchester United striker was on his way back to the North East from his native Manchester on Monday night after being released from the England Under-21 squad following Thursday’s friendly win in Denmark.
But Welbeck’s commute was interrupted when he was called up to the full England squad, after Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
The turnaround was worth it, as Welbeck took to the field in the closing stages at Wembley after just two outings for Sunderland since returning from hamstring and knee problems which had kept him on the sidelines for two months.
Welbeck told the Echo: “It’s been a pretty hectic 24 hours and I was just delighted to get on the pitch and make my debut.
“It was early evening on Monday night and from then on it was just hectic getting down to London and meeting up with the squad.
“I was actually packing my bags ready to get in my car to drive up to Sunderland.
“But obviously, I got the call and I was straight down to London.
“I was really happy to get on rather than just being on the bench.
“It’s showed my progress this season and I just hope I can push on now.
“You could say it’s been a whirlwind six months for me.
“Obviously, I got injured and I was out for two months which was a bit of a let-down.
“But I’m only going to learn from being out so long and now I can move on to the rest of the season with Sunderland.”
Even though he made his senior debut last night, Welbeck remains eligible for both England and Ghana – the native country of his parents.
The striker will need to appear in a competitive senior international before his allegiance to either nation is confirmed.
But it would be a major surprise if Welbeck turns his back on England now, particularly after receiving a tough reception from the Ghanaian masses gathered inside Wembley.
“It was a bitter-sweet moment when I came on,” he added.
“The supporters weren’t happy although the Ghana players afterwards were telling me I can still change. But we’ll have to see about that.”