Welbeck credits the influence of former United defender, Wes Brown, for his rise through the ranks at Old Trafford. He grew up in the same neighborhood as Brown – just three miles from Old Trafford — and remains close to the family, according to the Mail.
Welbeck and his brothers played soccer in the streets and parks with Brown and his family. He saw the eldest Brown, Wes, rise to fame with their hometown club and make the squad that represented England at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
"I could see what Wes was doing, he was going off to Lilleshall with England and then going away with United," Welbeck said. "It was really motivational. Here was a guy living directly across the road from me so I used to think, 'If he can do it, why can't you?'
"Playing on the streets back then you would do things in the little games and think, 'I'll do this at Old Trafford,'" Welbeck said. "Now it's finally happening — it's the stuff that dreams are made of."
Brown, 32, now plays for Sunderland. But he played for Manchester United from 1996-2011. He was always highly-rated, but battled injuries throughout his United career. Nevertheless, he gave Welbeck (11 years his junior) and other youngsters proof that they did not have to fall victim to the negative aspects of life in their inner-city neighborhood.
"Longsight was pretty rough," Welbeck said. "But where we lived on our estate, everybody knew each other. It was a close-knit community and at that age you're immune to other stuff going on around you.
"I still talk regularly to people I played with there. Reece Brown [Wes's younger brother] is still one of my best friends. We grew up together. We have come from the same stuff."
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/ Catatan Bola Photo Gallery
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