Manchester United will be counting on the continued growth of key youth players on the squad – players who have been pocketing more and more minutes as the club kicks on and finishes the 2019/20 season. At the age of 18, Mason Greenwood constitutes a bright spot in a depleted United squad and has much to offer the club straight away; he simply needs more experience on the pitch.
The quality of players that are products of Manchester United’s prestigious youth academy, including legends like Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, is undeniable. And now, Mason Greenwood has started to make a name for himself – breaking into the first team consistently and turning in solid performances. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer would be wise to play him frequently moving forward.
Recently interviewed in a video uploaded by Manchester United’s main YouTube channel, Greenwood was asked if it inspired him to know that the mantra at Old Trafford is: “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.” That mentality certainly rings true in Solskjaer’s match selections and Greenwood’s recent performances on the pitch. At his age, there is no cap in terms of his potential. While Marcus Rashfords’s emergence was mercurial, he is not the prototypical main striker.
The same rings true with the Frenchman Antony Martial: they are dangerous attackers, but they can play several positions on the front line. Greenwood has the confidence, the guile, and the sweet, assured finishing-foot of a striker that can routinely bang in 30 goals a season. Keeping that in mind, since the departure of Romelu Lukaku in the summer of 2019, the club has desperately needed a true number nine.
Mason Greenwood has seen 23 appearances for United, while only bagging four goals, but he passes the eye test with ease. The ball seems glued to his feet when he’s dribbling. He is essentially a two-footed striker, without a weak foot. And importantly, his instincts in the box are predatory, leading to composed and lethal finishes.
There are glints of play and performance that lend a comparison between Greenwood and Robin Van Persie, the heralded Dutch forward – formerly of United from 2012 through 2015 – who was wildly prosperous for the club during his stint at Old Trafford. It’s a bold comparison to make, considering Van Persie is regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, but Greenwood has that potential.
When watching Mason Greenwood stalk the opposing team’s 18-yard box with poise and intent, it’s easy to visualize the stellar potential the young man possesses. It’s evident in his lethality when looking to go for goal. He has a nose for the ball in the six-yard box and is supremely confident when slotting home shots on goal, often at absurd angles just within the near post.
With the absence of Marcus Rashford, one would expect Solskjaer to lean on Greenwood – who will be a catalyst for the squad – contributing to both short-term and long-term success for United going forward. Ideally, his name will be called to start with the first team more often. Should his impressive play continue, he may begin to slowly edge out the underwhelming Jesse Lingard and inherit more meaningful minutes as a result.
Written by Christopher Michael Eithun