What impresses me most in this story (see boldface type below) by Martin Rogers is how when this world famous athlete was a young boy just getting started with a potentially crippling illness, he ignored doctors’ urgings to quit and played through his pain. I so admire this passion and determination. It’s among the noble traits of humans that deserve to be celebrated. And can you believe that these kids are just eight years old, when they trial for world class teams?

Danny Welbeck produced the most unusual and imaginative goal of Euro 2012 (European football) to hand England a desperately needed victory over Sweden on Friday and provide the highest point in a career that itself is a triumph against long odds.

Welbeck completed a dramatic comeback for England with the final goal in a 3-2 win in Kiev and leave his country needing just a draw against co-host Ukraine in its final match in Group D to guarantee a place in the quarterfinals.

The 21 year-old Manchester United striker had his back to the goal when Theo Walcott fired in a low cross from the right after 78 minutes, but he was able to flick the ball with the back of his right heel, sending it past Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson and into the net.

Welbeck (left) shows off his skill on the winning goal against Sweden—6/15/12. (AP)

It was Welbeck’s second goal for his country, and some fans had expressed doubts as to his suitability for a starting place in the absence of suspended first-choice forward Wayne Rooney. However, Welbeck is no stranger to overcoming adversity, having battled an unusual and debilitating condition as a child as well as being told he had no chance of becoming a professional.

Welbeck was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease in his formative years, leaving him with excruciating pain and swelling in his knees. Doctors warned he should consider quitting soccer, claiming that continuing to train and play several times a week could cause ongoing pain and growth complications.

The youngster refused to give up on his dream of becoming a star, though, and regularly told his parents and coaches that the pain he felt was less serious than it really was. Finally, toward his late teenage years, the problem disappeared. It has never returned.

That was not the only hurdle he had to overcome. This might make uncomfortable reading for some Manchester City supporters, but United’s hated rival missed out on the opportunity to snap up Welbeck long before he eventually became a star.

Welbeck was part of City’s youth training program as a youngster but was not considered to have the potential to become a professional and was told not to return for future training sessions.

“I was trialing with City at the age of 8 but just before Christmas they told [my] dad I wasn’t good enough,” Welbeck said. “My dad didn’t want to tell me because it was Christmas, so I was oblivious to the situation for a while.”

A few months later, Welbeck was spotted by a United scout, and the rest is history.

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