'Generational talent': Mason Greenwood scores again to show that Manchester United's future is a lot less bleak than its present
The young Englishman again came to his team's rescue on Saturday as he rescued a point for United late on against a managerless Everton team burdened with problems of their own. The strike - a wonderful left-footed shot into the bottom corner from outside the area - had the mark of a player with leagues' more experience in top level football.
So effective has he been recently that his manager, tasked with eking results out of a badly misfiring side, has become progressively more comfortable with placing the weight of United's goalscoring intentions squarely on Greenwood's 18-year-old shoulders.
And, for the time being at least, it appears to be working.
Greenwood's equalizer against Everton doubles his Premier League tally for the season after he grabbed his first, and equally crucial, goal in the 3-3 draw with Sheffield United.
He has also been regularly utilized in Manchester United's Europa League campaign where he has scored four times in five appearances, including a second-half brace against AZ Alkmaar earlier this week.
However this season works out, Man Utd have found a fantastic young player in Mason Greenwood.— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) December 15, 2019
Mason Greenwood's two Premier League goals for Man Utd:⚽️ 77': Off the bench vs. Sheffield Utd.⚽️ 77': Off the bench vs. EvertonHe's Solskjaer's Solskjaer. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/aLoEWiDZ0V— Football Limited (@flimited2019) December 15, 2019
Just some of the players who haven’t managed to score more than Mason Greenwood this season and he’s had only 7 starts. LacazetteAlliB. SilvaC. WilsonPulisicMahrezFirminoMouraPepeZahaIwobiGiroudGenerational talent. pic.twitter.com/VymCktCX7o— StretfordPaddock (@StretfordPaddck) December 13, 2019
While Greenwood's talent is obvious, it could be suggested that for a club of the stature of Manchester United to hand a player who was very recently 17-years-old almost 20 first-team appearances before Christmas reflects a deeper problem. For every true talent that breaks through from a club's academy there are countless others who fall through the cracks.
Before Greenwood, and even Marcus Rashford, the Old Trafford faithful preached the virtues of Federico Macheda but his flame faded before it ever truly took hold. Ravel Morrison was another. The list is a long one.
Mason Greenwood’s coldness in celebrations is so elite. Acts as if he’s scored 100+ goals already. Kid is going to the top.— Jordan Clarke (@FourFourJordan) December 15, 2019
Solskjær: “Mason Greenwood is different class in and around the box. You’re not surprised when he scores goals. It’s fitting that it should be an academy player that scores in the 4,000th match and it makes it hard for me to leave him out." #mulive [sky]— utdreport (@utdreport) December 15, 2019
The danger, and perhaps some might think this overly-cautious, is to squeeze too much from a player who is still developing into what he should ultimately become. The temptation, and it is a strong one, is to insert him into the first team squad and while there will without doubt be benefits to do so, one wonders if there will ever be a cost?Also on rt.com Chasing down Chelsea: Spurs snatch late win at Wolves to put Mourinho hot on heels of old club before huge showdown next weekend
Either way, Mason Greenwood represents the very DNA from which Manchester United can draw as a foundation to emerge from the messy post-Ferguson era. He is a true homegrown talent, has been on the books since he was six and has shown at the top level of the game that he has both the talent and the temperament to succeed.
The odds of doing so are clearly in his favor, but one suspects that if Mason Greenwood is to move to the next level of his game so must Manchester United. In essence, Greenwood and Manchester United's futures are inextricably linked. Where one succeeds, so does the other.
Manchester United's faithful will be hoping that there isn't a flip side to that coin.