Former Manchester United player Wes Brown has expressed his disappointment after the Red Devils allowed Longsight-born forward Danny Welbeck to leave Old Trafford.
The England international came up through the ranks of the 20-time English champions’ youth system before making his way into the first team in 2008.
Former United manager Louis van Gaal sanctioned Welbeck’s sale in 2014. He completed a permanent switch to Arsenal on the deadline day of the summer transfer window that year. After allowing the 27-year-old join the Gunners, the Dutchman stressed the attacker was not up to the standard of the Premier League giants.
“Danny used to live right across the road and he is close friends with my little brother as well. He was playing on the streets with us, maybe when he was four, five,” Brown told Sport Witness.
“He managed to break through at United and was let go. It’s disappointing for me because he is a Manchester lad, but that’s football, you know.
“He is a strong and talented lad. He has had his ups and downs at Arsenal, but that doesn’t stop him from being such a good talent.”
Brown was also born in Longsight and came up through the ranks of United’s academy and made it to the first team, winning the treble in 1999. Arsenal won their first title under Arsene Wenger during the 1997/98 season, beating Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
The Scot promoted a few players from the academy to train with the first team at the end of the 1997/98 season, with Brown being one of those. He made his debut when he came on as a substitute against Leeds United. The ex-Premier League defender gave an insight on how Gary Pallister was “winding him up” a day before the game.
“Gary Pallister was winding me up. Basically, I started training with the first team, which was very nerve wracking for myself. I was very young, very skinny. Arsenal had won the league that season and the gaffer had put more and more young lads in training,” he explained.
“The second to last game, Gary Pallister was winding me up saying that I was going to start the game. Honestly, I didn’t sleep the previous night. I didn’t start, but I ended up coming off the bench. It was one of the best feelings I ever had.
“He just said go out and do what you normally do, which is basically what I did. It was brilliant going home and seeing my family after. I also started the last game of the season, which was against Barnsley, which we won.”
Like most footballers, Brown also has a chant, which is still sung on occasion by a section of the Manchester United faithful. It goes: ‘He’s big, he’s bad, he’s Wesley Brown, the hardest man in all of town, with orange hair beware, come and have a go if you dare.’
The 38-year-old left Old Trafford in 2011 and he explained he feels “honoured” his name is chanted, years after leaving the Red Devils.
“It’s great, but it’s not good when it happens in a small space (laughs). I mean it’s good. I have to respect the fans, they have all been brilliant to me. To sing the song even after many years I have been gone is an honour for me,” the two-time Champions League winner added.
Wes Brown was in India to promote Manchester United’s ‘Destination United’ experience in Bangalore.