Mason Greenwood is in the England U21 squad but could he soon be a regular in the Manchester United? That is the view of both team-mates and former coaches who speak of a gift who’s capable of making it writes Adam Bate.
Marcus Rashford calls him frightening. Luke Shaw calls him unbelievable. Players praise his mindset and his adulthood. Supporters liken him to Robin van Persie. Since the flops that are highly-paid leave Manchester United, there’s an area that’s opened up to emerge and teenager Mason Greenwood matches the profile.
The 231st academy graduate to signify United is a bit special. You will find glimpses of that even in his brief cameo at Southampton. Greenwood might have won a penalty had the noodle seen the accidental kick he received from Stuart Armstrong on and forced a good save from Angus Gunn.
A starting spot is not likely to be far away for a participant who scored over a goal a game for U23 sides and United’s U18. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already trusted Greenwood off the seat that memorable March night at Paris and awarded him his own complete Premier League debut on the last day of last season when he explained as the team’s”best player by a mile”.
However, it was that Solskjaer convinced that he was ready. A goal against Leeds always helps but there was greater than that. There was the time he flipped that the Perth Glory defence inside out and twisted. That was his goal from Inter, while his drag-back because match made a fool from the Milan Skriniar that is experienced.
A particular irony is that Greenwood impressed by the group which has accepted on Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. They are United’s past. Still just 17, Greenwood is the near future. Perhaps even the present. That’s the way Solskjaer sees it. “Mason’s pathway would have been much harder when we had another forward here,” he explained recently.
It seems sure that Greenwood may get his chance. The big issue is when he receives it how good he will become. What sets him apart from the rest and where exactly will he fit into this United team? Neil Dewsnip was Greenwood’s coach with all the England U18 squad last year and that he sees him as a person with talent and the mentality to be successful.
“He is highly motivated to be the very best he can possibly be which is always a huge advantage in a young participant,” Dewsnip tells Sky Sports.
“From the England U18 team he played with as an out-and-out centre-forward down the center and did very well in that job but we also used him in broad areas also, especially on the perfect side of the area where he can cut in on his left foot and buckle it quite nicely.
“He’s definitely got an eye for goal, so I would concur with his supervisor he can score a variety of goals. He will put in behind defences and is fast, direct. He’s also smart enough to combine with his team-mates. So he’s got an intriguing package developing.”
If there’s no club like United, but will he be able to put that package together? Can a player who needed to go after playing his part over Paris Saint-Germain deal with all the pressure of needing to provide in arguably the greatest club in the whole world? Can he really be able to manage all that?
“I believe he can,” adds Dewsnip. “Front gamers have a tendency to bring that together. They love to score targets. They are excited through that. I don’t think Old Trafford will fazes him. I think it will be relished by him. The crowd has started to develop an awareness regarding him. It remains to be seen if he can deliver but I do not believe he is going to be fazed by it.”
Speaking to one of his colleagues, it seems Greenwood does not have any motive to be fazed. Within the academy building at United’s Carrington training ground, where the walls are adorned by photos of different graduates, Luke Shaw smiles as Greenwood’s name is mentioned. The left-back has confronted him . He understands what’s awaiting Premier League defences.
“He’s a really excellent player, an unbelievable talent and it is crazy to think he is only 17,” Shaw tells Sky Sports. “There’s much more to come out of him but there is so much he is doing at the moment. He is impressing each time he performs with and every time he trains he wants to understand. Ole has massive religion in him and so do the rest of us.”
Both Rashford and Lingard have predicted Greenwood laid back and there is a calmness to his game. Both as a finisher see him – the most thing being that he can do it with the two feet, even taking fines along with his allegedly weaker right foot. He played a deeper role in his younger days but has been moved forward because of his capability.
Much more than just a poacher, he is a dribbler also with speed – his sister is about a sports scholarship at Manchester Metropolitan University. Greenwood has similar gifts, blessed with strength as well as speed and ability. Even as a teenager, he’s got the upper body strength to hold off his marker and switch the drama by hitting sweeping cross-field passes.
Manchester United like to keep a lid on those things as best they could, restricting his press actions. However, the secret is out. It is known by the United fans and his United team-mates understand it as well. “We know what he will be bringing to this group quite soon,” adds Shaw. “He just has to keep his head down and work hard along with also his talent will prosper.
“He can be among the finest on the planet.”
It is some sympathy for United and high praise as their main rivals are still outperform them. The urge over the last six seasons is to spend their way back to the top but there is a recognition that, even for a club of their tools, this can be impossible. There has to be a strategy. They will have to build. And it will take some time.
They need to rely on an academy grad or two, as they always have. Scott McTominay continues to develop, embodying the spirit of hard work that each supporter would like to determine from their players. However, Greenwood has the capability to provide you and more to that. He’s a player with this piece of fantasy to his game. A participant who can make United believe.
“This group has got energy, it has got childhood,” explained Gary Neville to some recent appearance on Monday Night Football. “I enjoy it. It’s not slow, but it’s not methodical, it’s not dull. With some good additions, they have a fantastic probability of doing some thing in a couple of decades In case it develops. It is not likely to occur overnight but I am happier with exactly what United are.”
The Manchester United supporters will be more happy If Greenwood gets a run at the team. They might not need to wait.
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