Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has heaped praise on forward Mason Greenwood after his great start to his career at the club this season. The Dutchman has stated that Greenwood, 18, is playing better than he did at the same age. That is some confidence boosting comment from a player in which the teenager has been likened to in the past year or so. Greenwood and Van Persie share the same style of play with Greenwood able to hit with both feet, something he has shown this season.
Back in 2004, Van Persie signed for Arsenal as an 18-year-old, scoring 10 goals in his first season, seeing limited time on the pitch during that season. Soon though, the Dutchman was showing glimpses of the player that he was going to become, which is what Greenwood is doing now. Greenwood has scored 10 goals in the Premier League alone this season, scoring seven more in other competitions; five in the UEFA Europa League and one in each of the Emirates FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. At youth level, Greenwood also has two goals in two appearances at U23 level.
It is good for the 18-year-old to be praised by players who have literally done what he has at the same age as it will raise his confidence, even though that seems to be high at this moment in time. The player will know that he is heading in the right direction and could see reward for all of his hard work in the very near future. United earned a UEFA Europa League semi-final against Sevilla by beating FC Copenhagen on Monday evening, which could see United earn a final place, if they beat the Spanish side.
The Dutchman left United in the summer of 2012 and despite rumours at the time suggesting that Arsenal wanted to keep the player, he confirmed recently that he was not offered a new contract so decided to sign for United and play under Sir Alex Ferguson in what was his final season in charge of the club, promptly announcing his retirement before the final match of the season, which shocked everyone. Van Persie made a total of 105 appearances for United, scoring 58 goals and 21 assists. Speaking to Enterprise Rent-A-Car and reported by The Mirror, Van Persie said:
“When I watch him play, it just brings a big smile to my face. He’s deadly with his finishing. The way he finishes is very unique. He’s 18 years old! As a young kid, I didn’t score many goals when I was 18 so Mason Greenwood is definitely doing better at 18 than me.”
The Dutchman also underlined the work of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the rise of Greenwood this season, which is something that many will miss. Some supporters seem to have an agenda against Solskjaer and no matter what he does, they will always want serial winner, Mauricio Pochettino – who has won nothing as he is the better manager, apparently. With United facing Sevilla on Sunday, Van Persie has also talked up his former clubs chances of success in the competition, the same competition the club won in the 2016/17 season only this season, they have already guaranteed their place in the UEFA Champions League. Van Persie said:
“Solskjaer makes Greenwood one of the main guys and that is what you want. You want that coming from the coach.
“And Solskjaer gives that to Bruno Fernandes, to Paul Pogba, to Mason Greenwood, to Marcus Rashford, to Anthony Martial and you can see these guys blossom with that, they love it.
“They have more control, they’re more bossing games and everyone knows that you have to be consistent if you want to be competing for trophies.
“They are more consistent now and if they keep doing that they are definitely contenders.”
Written by John Walker