On the 1 October 2021 Manchester United’s official website announced that ‘record breaking Mason celebrates 20th birthday’, for United fans the fact Greenwood is only now turning 20 and is unbelievable. This is because since Operation Restart, Greenwood has been consistently in and amongst the first team for United and has put up attacking numbers that have already made him a fan favourite. But how special is United’s Golden Boy?
The best place to start is to take a look at some of the records Greenwood has already managed to break in his short career; the most impressive record is the fact that before he turned 20, Greenwood had scored 32 goals for United, this ranked him third behind club legends George Best (37) and Norman Whiteside (39), as reported by the club.
To be mentioned alongside players such as Whiteside and Best shows the talent of Greenwood and proves just how high a ceiling he may have as he develops, as both Whiteside and Best went on to have extremely successful careers.
It has also been reported by United that Greenwood is the fifth teenager to reach 100 appearances for United before their 20th birthday, only behind Best, Whiteside, Duncan Edwards and Ryan Giggs. The official number of appearances he made before turning 20 is 113, as his appearance against Everton at the weekend was his first game played for United as a 20 year old.
Again, the ability to reach this number of appearances for club as big as United indicates a lot about Greenwood; it not only shows he has great ability to be able to hold his own and preform on the big stage in competitions such as the Premier League and the Champions League, but it also shows great mental strength, he has not shied away from the pressure or expectations and has instead embraced it.
It must be noted that club legends such as David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville all fall behind Greenwood in this record, proving just how bright a talent he is.
In the League, Greenwood has managed 20 goals and three assists in 72 appearances, these numbers are extremely impressive for a teenager. For example, Bukayo Saka of Arsenal is a player often compared against Greenwood and is a forward with immense talent, turning 20 last month Saka has managed seven goals and nine assists in the league with 66 appearances.
This shows that when it comes to goals, Greenwood is already a step above his peers. He is also one of only four players to score 20 goals in the Premier League as a teenager, with Wayne Rooney, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen being the other three players to hit this milestone. Again, these are all players who went on to achieve great things in football, the company Greenwood keeps is elite.
As well as all these records, Greenwood became the youngest player to score in European competition for United, scoring his first senior goal against Astana in the Europa League and the age of 17 years and 353 days, beating the likes of Marcus Rashford and George Best. This goal was his first of the 2019/20 season, he ended the campaign with 17 goals and four assists in 49 appearances for the first team across all competitions, many of these appearances coming off the bench.
For a breakout season in a team with a lot of attacking quality and competition for spaces, these numbers were the evidence that Manchester United fans needed to believe that Mason Greenwood was the clubs next golden boy, and he has not slowed down since.
This season, Greenwood started off strong, scoring three goals in his first three games, the transfer of Daniel James to Leeds United meant that there were more opportunities for Greenwood to start for United.
However, with the signing of Ronaldo, Greenwood’s opportunities have mostly been on the wing this season, while Greenwood has managed to be productive from this position it is not his preferred position. With Marcus Rashford back in training and Jadon Sancho still to hit his best form at his new club, there is not doubt that competition for places amongst United front line will be tough.
However, Greenwood clearly has the trust of the manager, and his numbers as a teenager show that he is a player that deserves regular football at United, his numbers are frankly ridiculous for a player so young. If there is one thing United fans can be sure of, it’s that there is still so much more to come from the club’s golden boy. Where Greenwood is concerned, the potential he has is limitless.
Written by Jennifer McCord