London: Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham told the BBC on Tuesday that he was "sad" to see home-grown striker Danny Welbeck leave the club for their Premier League rivals Arsenal.
Welbeck, 23, was allowed to join Arsenal in a deal reportedly worth £16 million ($26.6 million, 20.2 million euros) on Monday after United agreed to sign Colombia striker Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan from Monaco. "He (Welbeck) has been there since he was eight.
His heart was in Manchester," said Beckham, who graduated from the United youth team in the mid-1990s before establishing himself at Old Trafford. "I am sure he is obviously sad to leave Manchester United.
Arsenal have a very good, young, talented English player, but to see him leave Manchester United, as a Manchester United fan, is obviously sad." However, England manager Roy Hodgson welcomed the move.
"The biggest bonus is for Danny Welbeck," Hodgson told a press conference ahead of England's friendly game with Norway on Wednesday. "When you are a player of his calibre and find yourself at United with competition for places, you don't always get the starts you would like.
"He is going to a club where he will hopefully get more starts and playing time. So I am pleased for Danny and I think Arsenal have signed a good player. "My job is with England and the players I choose. I don't wish to make any suggestions about what clubs do with their players.
"But I cannot deny the more players play and the more experience they get, especially at Champions League level, the better it is for me at international level."
Welbeck's England team-mate Jack Wilshere welcomed the striker to Arsenal with a picture of the pair on Twitter. "Big welcome to my boy Welbz," the Arsenal midfielder wrote. "Great player for a great club. Another English lad!"