Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba might have stolen the show during Manchester United’s demolition job against Leeds United, however the most powerful image from the opening day was undoubtedly Mason Greenwood celebrating in front of a packed out Sir Alex Ferguson stand.
The English forward is one of the world’s most highly rated prospects, having broken into the Red Devils team in 2019 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and already amassing over a hundred appearances in Manchester. There has been a swirling debate for some time from the football world over which position best suits Greenwood’s play style, so we thought we would delve into the player’s profile, his pros, cons and where Solskjaer and co. should deploy him going forward.
When a seventeen year old Mason Greenwood made his first full team debut in the Premier League against Cardiff City in May 2019, he was deployed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a winger in his then-preferred 4-3-3 formation. At 17 years and 223 days, Greenwood was the youngest player to play for United, and it was clear his pace was a key component Solskjaer was hoping to unlock when he threw him into the starting eleven that day.
Since his breakthrough to the starting eleven, Greenwood has mainly been shifted as a wide midfielder as Solskjaer has employed a 4-2-3-1 formation. The likes of Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford have rotated the responsibility of the head of the attack with Greenwood effectively, however the seasoned Uruguayan is United’s go-to option when fit.
Greenwood’s natural pace and fantastic dribbling abilities nevertheless make him a more than viable option on the wings, with his link up abilities with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba more than evident in some of the team’s very best performances over the past couple campaigns.
Ever since the departure of figures like Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, Manchester United have had a string of players that were drafted in as strikers, but who have slowly drifted out to the wing areas. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are the two prime examples of this in action, and have for the most part looked more comfortable playing out wide than up top, however it feels more and more like Mason Greenwood could be the opposite to these two and the player United have been looking for all this time.
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One of the most striking things about Mason Greenwood that has convinced so many in the football world that he is the next big real deal is his composure in and around the opposing box, and his remarkable ability to strike the ball.
Greenwood is probably the best striker of the ball at United currently, and his coolness in front of goal has been pivotal in turning the side from a severely underachiever, to one that regularly dominates the football spread betting odds and is looking to mount its first serious title challenge for nearly a decade.
In his 106 appearances for Manchester United, Mason Greenwood has bagged 30 goals, with his 2019/20 campaign being his most prolific with 17 goals in 49 appearances. His 2020/21 season had been a bit slow for a time, however he closed out the season in fine form with seven goals in his last eight Premier League appearances.
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Greenwood has everything Manchester United could ever want in a future great number nine, the challenge for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be finding a way of getting him in the position to thrive, without upsetting the established faces such as Edinson Cavani.