Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Danny's Pride at England Honours

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Danny's Pride at England Honours

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES HUNTER

DANNY WELBECK insists his England Under-21 career is important to him - despite having to pull out of tonight's friendly against Iceland at Preston.

Welbeck and his Sunderland teammate Jordan Henderson both scored in last week's 4-0 friendly win over Denmark, but the pair have been allowed to return to Wearside by Under-21s boss Stuart Pearce, who is mindful of the fact that Welbeck has only just returned from a long-term injury, while Henderson risks burnout after featuring in every league game for the Black Cats so far.

The duo were among a clutch of players allowed to miss tonight's game by Pearce, who has called up replacements.

But Manchester United man Welbeck does not take Under-21 honours for granted, and points out that his performances for the Three Lions helped earn him his season-long loan move to Sunderland.

"I enjoy being part of the England Under-21s and I don't like missing games," he said.

"It is fantastic to get picked for your country at any level and pulling on the Three Lions shirt means a lot to me. I'm at the stage of my career where I'm trying to make a name for myself.

"Coming to Sunderland this season is part of that and playing for the England Under-21s is another part of that - my performances for the Under-21s actually helped me get noticed in the first place.

"Hopefully, now that I'm back from injury I can have a good finish to the season and do well with Sunderland before rounding it off with a good tournament with England in the U21 European Championships in the summer." Welbeck has been eased back into action by Sunderland chief Steve Bruce after picking up a hamstring injury against Aston Villa in January, and then undergoing knee cartilage surgery.

Those injuries meant the 20-year-old missed two months of the season before making his comeback as a sub in Sunderland's draw at Arsenal and then returning to the starting line-up in the defeat against Liverpool eight days ago. …

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