Welbeck scored the winning goal in England’s 3-2 victory over Sweden on Friday. His spinning back-heel flick beat Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson to become the early favorite to win the mythical “goal of the tournament” award at the 2012 UEFA European Championships.
Welbeck became a national hero in just his seventh appearance for England’s national team. He scored his second international goal by redirecting a cross from Theo Walcott. It was no easy feat, as a defender was draped over his back as he was turning. But the young forward kept his focus and flicked the ball into the net.
In the 2011-12 season, Welbeck became a regular starter at Premier League giant Manchester United. He scored 12 goals in 40 games in all competitions, and manager Sir Alex Ferguson thinks he is the best partner for superstar forward Wayne Rooney.
Before Friday’s game, Welbeck said he was inspired by the wonder-goal Michael Owen scored at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. That goal made a then seven-year-old Welbeck dream of scoring big goals for his country.
“This is something I’ve worked towards since I was a little kid,” Welbeck said. “You want to be playing games at the highest level. Now that I’m here I’m really proud and I want to develop my game and go as far as I can.”
Welbeck has capped a breakout season with his hometown club by putting England in position to advance to the knockout rounds at Euro 2012. He has undoubtedly inspired kids back home to dream big, just as Owen did for him all those years ago.
Watch Welbeck’s stunning goal in the video below.