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Mason Greenwood will look to make his presence felt alongside Jadon Sancho. (Image Credit: Twitter)
English Premier League Football Latest Ligue 1

Mason Greenwood: Manchester United’s answer to Kylian Mbappe?

Mason Greenwood will look to make his presence felt alongside Jadon Sancho. (Image Credit: Twitter)
Mason Greenwood will look to make his presence felt alongside Jadon Sancho. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Manchester United has been a breeding ground for young talent for decades. In fact, the last time they fielded a team without an academy graduate was way back in 1937. This faith in the youth has paid huge dividends. Ever since the emergence of the class of ’92, United fans are always optimistic that a new batch of talented youngsters will come through the ranks. In recent years, players like Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford have rekindled that belief amongst the United faithful. With Ole Gunnar Solskjær stressing on the United way of “Youth. Courage. Success” one thing is pretty clear, the young lads are going to get their opportunities.

Over the course of the seasons, Ole has stood by his word. He even went on to name a squad full of academy graduates (barring Luke Shaw and Lee Grant) against Astana in a Europa League encounter. One name that has stood out among the academy graduates this season has been that of Mason Greenwood.

Mason joined Manchester United’s youth program when he was just 6 years old. The boy from Bradford started raising eyebrows in the 2017-18 season when he finished as the top scorer for the under-18s even though he was just 16.

Unfortunately for Mason, then United manager Jose Manager was not keen on giving opportunities to youngsters. The likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah among others moved out on loan. With the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, players like Anthony Martial were finding starts hard to come by. This was not the case post the ‘Special One’s departure.

Ole spearheads Mason’s rapid progress 

Ole was quick to assess his resources and made it clear that Mason was in his plans. When enquired about the better finisher between Rashford and Martial, the Norwegian was quick to say it was ‘Mason Greenwood’.

Mason made his debut in what has been Manchester United’s best night in Europe in recent times, becoming the club’s youngest-ever Champions League player. He was on the pitch as Marcus Rashford blasted home a late penalty against Gigi Buffon, completing a sensational Champions League comeback against Paris St Germain.

Mason went on to make his Premier League debut as well as his first start for the club. The youth sensation’s finest movement of the season came when he scored a hat-trick against Chelsea in the FA youth cup. Soon his unique ability to finish with both feet was the talk of the town. He was named the Jimmy Murphy youth team player of the year, for his consistency throughout the season. Having scored 30 goals across the under-18s, under-19s and under-23s, it is safe to say that the Old Trafford faithful were not surprised.

Fear over Mason Greenwood struggling like Janujaz

In the recent past, Manchester United fans have been guilty of hyping up their youth players. This results in unnecessary pressure only for these youngsters to fail and lose their way. Remember when they thought Adnan Januzaj was the next Cristiano Ronaldo?

“For me, the biggest disappointment at Manchester United was Adnan Januzaj. I don’t think I’ve seen a player, probably since Ryan Giggs, who was as good as that. He was unbelievable. In my eyes, he should have gone on to be a world superstar,” said Nicky Butt.

James Wilson became the first academy player since Paul Scholes to score a brace on debut only to be never heard of again. Federico Macheda suffered a similar fate. When United decided to let go of Romelu Lukas and Alexis Sanchez in the summer of 2019, it was clear that Ole was prepared to bank on the teenager to come good but not ready to put Mason straight into the mix. He decided to give him time instead with regular appearances off the bench.

The Europa League was the perfect platform for Ole to give him a free run in the first team, and he did repay the faith shown in him scoring 5 times in the competition, becoming the first teenager to score five goals for United in Europe in the process. As the season progressed, Greenwood kept getting better and better, he went on to score his first Premier League goal against Sheffield United followed by another against Everton.

Fantastic finish draws comparisons to Robin Van Persie

He scored a belter against Newcastle, drawing comparisons to Robin van Persie. Any doubts over Greenwood’s starting position for United were put to rest post the Premier League restart, as he established himself on the right side of United’s front three providing ample support for Martial and Rashford. The trio ended up scoring more goals than Liverpool’s front three.

Not only this, Mason was the most accurate shooter in the Premier League. He finished with a total of 39 shots with 20 on target.

As Manchester United look to strengthen their squad to mount a title challenge next season, it is more or less certain that even more attacking options will make their way to Old Trafford, putting Manchester United’s golden boy to the test. This is certainly an ideal situation for a manager like Ole. The fight for a place in the starting 11 is set to get more intense.

Potential spot for Mason in English squad for Qatar World Cup

Mason has dislodged Dan James from the starting lineup. It is clear that he has in him to fight for a place and force his way into the squad. The attacker will be expected to slot in effortlessly alongside Jadon Sancho.

“He can play in all front-three positions, or across the front four, as he can play as a number 10, number seven, number 11 and number nine,” said Ole, when asked about the highly-rated youngster.

This was a huge relief for United fans, as it was made clear that even with the arrival of Sancho, Greenwood is well and truly in his plans for the future. The attacker’s flexibility will only give cover over multiple positions for the Red Devils. Alan Shearer has urged Mason to keep going and book a spot in the England team for the Qatar World Cup.

England manager Gareth Southgate will surely have to make a few tough calls because it looks like there is no stopping this teenager at the moment.

Written By: Abhiram Hari


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