BIRMINGHAM, England — Mason Greenwood was so promising as a schoolboy at Manchester United that Sir Alex Ferguson would inform folks of the “particular” expertise that will someday break into the primary workforce. After the 19-year-old eclipsed Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo within the membership’s report books with an important purpose in Sunday’s 3-1 win at Aston Villa, Ferguson was proven to be proper.
In fact, Greenwood’s precocious capability has been well-known to the soccer world since he broke into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s workforce as a 17-year-old in 2019, however his purpose at Villa Park, which put United 2-1 forward after a Bruno Fernandes penalty had levelled Bertrand Traore’s opener, confirmed simply how massive of a future he has at Outdated Trafford. The left-footed strike from simply contained in the Villa penalty space, having turned Tyrone Mings with embarrassing ease, was Greenwood’s sixteenth league purpose for United, making him the highest-scoring teenager within the membership’s Premier League historical past — greater than Rooney, Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Ryan Giggs.
That’s an illustrious group of star names that Greenwood now stands on the prime of, and his surge of kind in latest weeks is even higher than the purpose glut that accompanied his finish to the 2019-20 season. Greenwood has now hit seven targets in his previous 10 video games in all competitions — he has 11 in whole this season — having ended final 12 months’s pandemic-interrupted marketing campaign with 5 targets in 10 appearances.
– Stream ESPN FC Every day on ESPN+ (U.S. solely)
That kind earned Greenwood a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the Nations League conflict with Iceland initially of this season — a call-up that led to controversy when he and Manchester Metropolis’s Phil Foden have been despatched dwelling for breaching COVID-19 protocols — however whereas Foden has since been introduced again into the worldwide fold, Greenwood has remained on the surface. Though with UEFA now increasing squad sizes from 23 to 26 for Euro 2020, Greenwood’s kind is making it more and more troublesome for Southgate to miss his claims as a late wild-card choice.
Greenwood’s tempo and direct type down the appropriate flank of Solskjaer’s workforce can be giving the United supervisor a dilemma, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho as soon as once more more likely to be excessive on the membership’s summer time needed listing. However with Dortmund anticipated to carry out for a payment within the area of £80 million for the England winger, Greenwood’s accelerated growth would possibly simply save United a fortune and allow them to take a position that cash elsewhere within the workforce. By outstripping the likes of Rooney and Ronaldo by way of targets at his younger age, Greenwood can absolutely solely get higher, however his recreation time can be impacted by the signing of Sancho.
There’s a view inside United that, as soon as he has reached bodily maturity, Greenwood will transfer right into a extra central function within the workforce. He has been in comparison with former United striker Robin van Persie, by way of his motion and eye for purpose, so such a development is just not past the realms of potentialities.
United should purchase themselves time with Greenwood’s growth as a centre-forward because of Edinson Cavani‘s ageless performances for the workforce. The 34-year-old, a free switch arrival from Paris Saint-Germain final October, took his latest tally to eight targets in seven video games by scoring a late header to make it 3-1 in opposition to Villa.
Cavani has but to decide to a brand new contract past the tip of this season, however his contribution to Solskjaer’s workforce has been excellent. If he stays, he’ll allow Greenwood to proceed his studying of the sport out extensive, similtaneously tapping into the Uruguay worldwide’s data and expertise.
By scoring his purpose at Villa Park, Cavani equalled the membership report of Solskjaer and Javier Hernandez by registering 5 league targets instead in a single season. With 4 video games nonetheless to play, Cavani may but declare that milestone for himself.
Having secured the win that ensures a top-four end and Champions League qualification, United are actually virtually sure to play out their last 4 video games with Solskjaer rotating his squad in an effort to preserve them match and recent for the Europa League last in opposition to Villarreal in Gdansk, Poland, on Could 26.
Solskjaer had complained about United having to play 4 video games in eight days, beginning with final Thursday’s Europa League semifinal in opposition to AS Roma, as a result of postponed conflict in opposition to Liverpool being rescheduled for this Thursday, however with United’s top-four place safe, he’s now more likely to make wholesale modifications in opposition to Leicester Metropolis at Outdated Trafford on Tuesday. Such a transfer may have a direct impression on the race for the highest 4, with Leicester needing factors to see off strain from West Ham and Liverpool, however Solskjaer is unlikely to danger accidents to his gamers by forcing them to play three league video games within the house of 5 days — particularly after Harry Maguire was pressured off with an ankle harm, one the supervisor mentioned may trigger him to overlook “a couple of weeks.”
“I believe everyone seems to be able to doing Thursday-Sunday,” Solskjaer mentioned. “However then to place Tuesday in as properly is including an excessive amount of, after which Thursday, is bodily not possible.
“So now I’ve to stop the danger of getting accidents. The boys who performed Thursday evening and as we speak won’t play 90 minutes on Tuesday, that’s for certain. It’s the sports activities science guys, they do the roles. We are going to sit down on Tuesday afternoon and see who is prepared.”
By combating again from a purpose down at Villa — United have claimed a outstanding 31 factors from shedding positions this season — they will take their foot off the pedal within the last two weeks of the marketing campaign. 4 extra wins would not less than allow this workforce to register United’s highest factors whole in a season since Ferguson retired in 2013, however whereas Solskjaer would get pleasure from that distinction, do not count on him to prioritise that over having a totally match workforce for the Europa League last.