Thursday, 26 September 2019

Mason Greenwood coming of age for Manchester United

Mason Greenwood may not be a household name to those of a casual persuasion, but for us fans who follow the club week in week out, his rise to prominence is no shock.
Naysayers may dismiss his two goals in two games as coming against the underwhelming opponents of Astana and Rochdale, but the 17-year-old has been well ahead of schedule in terms of his progress through the Old Trafford ranks. He has already scored against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea at age group level and a string of impressive performances saw him earn the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award in 2018/19. Talk of him being the next big thing is not wide of the mark.


Greenwood was prolific at U18 and U17 level last term, scoring 26 in 30 games to earn him a senior call up with the first team in the midst of an injury crisis. He made his debut in the palatial surroundings of the Parc des Princes on that never-to-be-forgotten Paris night. A baptism of fire for the yoing striker. With Romelu Lukaku's departure to Inter offset by injuries to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, Greenwood was talked up by his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the answer to United's shortcomings in front of goal. Solskjaer has described Greenwood as one of the best finishers he has seen. The United boss certainly knows a good striker when he sees one - there can be no higher praise than that.

Lukaku was not replaced with Ole opting to promote from within. To be tasked as a key man to lead the line in your first season - Greenwood is 18 next week - is a huge ask with plenty of pressure on such young shoulders.

 Greenwood has so far been the one solitary ray of light in the darkness of the storm clouds that have enveloped Old Trafford. With too many senior players looking lost and failing to deliver, once again it is United's next generation - like so many times before - that have provided the one, small, glimmer of hope. There is little else to cling on to anymore. As wonderful as his coming of age breakthrough has been to watch, it is also a damning indictment on the rest of the Reds misfiring forwards.

The star of the future has become United's present. He's already outperforming Rashford and - dare I say it - there was a touch of the Robin van Persie about both of his goals. His body shape, the way he cut in, his coolness, the technique and Greenwood's dead eye composure in the finish reminded me of the prolific Dutchman at his peak. I'm not for one minute suggesting a kid only just breaking through will be as good as one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen, but there are similarities between the two. If Greenwood goes on to be even half as good, then Manchester United have a player on our hands.

His dead-eyed prowess broke the deadlock against League One Dale, just as he stepped up to the plate against the obdurate outsiders from Kazakhstan in the Europa League for his first senior goal last week. Two goals in two games, Greenwood must surely now be pushing for a start as Arsenal come to town on Monday.

Remember the name because this kid is going to be special. 

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