DANNY Welbeck has backed Fraizer Campbell’s Euro 2012 credentials after a momentous night for the Sunderland striker on and off the pitch.
Campbell made his senior international bow in last night’s Wembley friendly with Holland after playing the final 10 minutes from the bench in the dramatic 3-2 defeat to the Dutch.
It capped an emotional day for the 24-year-old, who became a father for the first time – racing away from Wembley at the final whistle to catch a plane to see his newborn baby daughter.
With Campbell unable to conduct any post-match interviews, it was left to former Sunderland and Manchester United team-mate Welbeck to back the Huddersfield-born frontman as a candidate to make the squad for the summer’s European Championships after returning from a 17-month injury absence.
Welbeck told the Gazette: “I definitely think he can be a contender for summer. There’s no reason why not.
“He’s got the capability of scoring goals in both the Premier League and on the international scene.
“He’s been to the Under-21 European Championships as well, so he’s got the experience of what it takes to go to a major tournament.” The 21-year-old, who spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light, added: “Fraizer’s a good friend of mine, he’s a person I’ve known since coming through at Manchester United as a young kid.
“He was someone who was always there for me.
“Then I went to Sunderland and he was there as well.
“I’m delighted for him to get back, return from injury, do as well as he’s doing and get the England call-up.
“It must have been hard for him to be out so long.
“But Fraizer’s a great guy. He kept his head up and worked hard and thankfully it’s paying off for him.
“He was just aiming to get back and get on the pitch, and then you never know what happens in football.
“He’s got his England debut, and we’re all delighted for him.”
Campbell had replaced fellow Man United academy product Welbeck by the time, what had been a fairly mundane international friendly, finally burst into life in the dying minutes.
Late strikes from Gary Cahill and Ashley Young wiped out Holland’s two-goal lead, only for Arjen Robben to regain the advantage with his second of the game in stoppage time.
Caretaker boss Stuart Pearce declined to single out Campbell’s credentials on his full England debut, but believes the more inexperienced members of the side will have learned from such a topsy-turvy finale.
“It was a valuable night for all the young players who got on,” said Pearce.
“They will have learned a lot from the exercise.
“Even though it is disappointing to lose the game, it’s an experience that will stand them in good stead.”