Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knew a year ago that Mason Greenwood was ready to take the Premier League by storm – in fact he did suggest just that and that he was going to give him regular opportunities to grow as a player this season, which is exactly what he has done. Greenwood has taken the league by storm.
On the first day of United’s pre-season tour of Australia, Solskjaer outlined his plans for Greenwood, then 17, and that he would play a key role in his squad this season, which is exactly what has happened. Now 18, Greenwood has paid back the confidence shown in him by the manager, recently scoring his 16th goal of the season.
The 18-year-old scored his fourth goal in three matches against Aston Villa on Thursday evening, scoring a brace against Bournemouth last weekend, with another goal and an assist against Brighton and Hove Albion in the match before it. George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney all scored 17 goals in their debut seasons with United.
Greenwood is a clinical finisher and a player that Solskjaer sees as the best finisher at the club and in the past, he has been compared to former United striker Robin van Persie, which is a great compliment for the teenager. Manchester City’s Phil Foden has complimented Greenwood’s rise, comparing him to City striker Sergio Aguero, saying:
“Mason [Greenwood] is the best I’ve seen, finishing-wise. He’s both footed. In and around the box, he’s always going to score.”
In explaining the comparison to Aguero, the City youngster, taking the same meteoric rise across the city of Manchester, said:
“High up, finishing-wise. For his age, he’s unbelievable. I don’t know how he does it, to be honest.
“It’s just the right type of shot, you know what I mean? He just knows when to finesse or lace it and he shoots quickly, the keeper is never stable or set.”
United teammate, David De Gea, echoed Foden but gave a warning against putting too much pressure on the teenager, which is a great bit of advice, considering the praise people have been giving the player and when he’s on a goal drought, they will be sticking the boot in. De Gea said:
“He’s a great player, a top finisher. You don’t know if he’s left or right-footed and it’s great to see the kid scoring goals. But we have to have some patience with him because he’s young.”
United have gone 17 matches unbeaten and will be up against Southampton in the Premier League on Monday, seeking another victory to keep the pressure up on Leicester City, who are not the team that United are chasing, seeing as Chelsea have risen to third in the table. If Leicester slip up this weekend, United could take their chance.
England manager Gareth Southgate will cast his eye over Greenwood when United face Chelsea in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup next weekend with the manager set to cast his eye over Foden and Arsenal player, Bukayo Saka, which will be interesting for the trio. Greenwood is the player to watch at the moment though.
It is unknown when international football will resume because of the coronavirus pandemic and with the European Championships delayed until next summer, there will need to be a fair few matches played by England and other countries, which may cause a fixture pileup if the delay goes past the remainder of the year.
An England call-up for Greenwood was seemingly something that would be seen as premature a year ago but with the player stepping up to the plate and the fact that other England players might have played their last games for the country, the future being implemented by Southgate now would be good for the young players, who will be able to find their feet for their country after doing so for their clubs.