BASEL: England manager Roy Hodgson said Danny Welbeck had proved his worth at centre-forward after scoring twice in a 2-0 victory over Switzerland in his side’s opening Euro 2016 qualifier.
An injury to Daniel Sturridge opened the door for the new Arsenal striker and he strode through it in Monday’s game in Basel to put England in control of Group E.
The former Manchester United forward, 23, has often been obliged to play in wide roles for both club and country, but Hodgson felt that his display proved he can cut it at the sharp end of the attack.
“I speak to him often and when I’ve asked him what do you think is your best position, he’s answered, ‘I think it’s probably centre-forward’,” said Hodgson.
“But he’s understood fully that the position wasn’t available to him in the past because I’ve had other people who’d have gotten into the team before him. “He’s never complained, but I’ve never been in any doubt that if I’d let him choose a position, he’d have chosen centre-forward.”
Meanwhile, Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic tasted defeat in his first game since succeeding Ottmar Hitzfeld, but he said the experience would stand his side in good stead ahead of their trip to Slovenia next month.
“The team reacted well and we created opportunities,” said Petkovic. “We could have scored, but we didn’t. It’s a good lesson and we’ll try to make up for it in the next game.”
‘Victory a step forward’
Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque said the new Spanish era has started as the European champions opened their qualifying campaign with a 5-1 win over Macedonia on Monday.
“We have started the competition with three points and the performance was very good. That is the most important thing,” said Del Bosque.
“We have taken a step forward. We are starting a new era and hopefully there is much more to come.”
In another qualifier, Russian defeated minnows Liechtenstein 4-0.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2014.