Football: Determined Welbeck out to show he is leader of the pack

BASEL (REUTERS) - England striker Danny Welbeck plans to use Monday's opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland to prove he is the man to lead the attack for country - and new club Arsenal.

"Every time you get on the pitch it is an opportunity to show what you can do. Monday is an opportunity," he told reporters before England's European Championship challenge begins in Basel. "I've never had a constant run in the team at No. 9 but I have faith in my ability. I prefer No. 9."

The 16 million pound (S$32 million) signing from Manchester United is not fazed by the pressure on England to perform after the huge disappointment of the World Cup in Brazil where Roy Hodgson's team were eliminated early after failing to win a match.

England also failed to impress in last Wednesday's 1-0 friendly victory over Norway at Wembley.

"You have to play the game and not the occasion," the 23-year-old said. "You can't go into a match think you have to do this or that, or impress. The main thing is to get the win."

Welbeck gets his wish to lead the line on Monday because of an injury to Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and Hodgson defended the Arsenal man's apparent lack of goals for club and country, 20 in 90 Premier League appearances for United and eight in 27 for England.

"At Manchester United he was facing competition from Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to name just two so some of the so-called games were no more than 10 or 15 minutes", Hodgson added. "Coming off the bench is harder to get you into the goalscoring mood than it is when your name is first on the team sheet. His record for England in terms of goals per minute is very good."

Also in England's group are Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino.

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