Greenwood matches Ronaldo after Spurs cameo
Mason Greenwood impressed for Manchester United once again, during Sunday’s 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur.
The 19-year-old, who had scored in each of his two previous domestic games, came off the bench for Marcus Rashford after 72 minutes in north London.
It didn’t take long for our no.11 to register an assist, with a delicious first-time cross for Edinson Cavani to put United ahead, and Mason then helped us finish with a flourish by firing past Hugo Lloris to cap off the scoring with virtually the last kick of the game.
That productive cameo appearance was noteworthy in itself, but stats trending on social media after the game pinpointed just how rare both scoring and assisting as a substitute is, for a player so young.
How Greenwood made a great impact at Spurs
🔥 After stepping off the bench, Mason registered a gorgeous assist before scoring himself with a thumping finish…
According to Opta data, Greenwood is the first United teenager to do this in the Premier League since Cristiano Ronaldo, during his first campaign with the Reds in 2003/04.
Ronaldo, who was 18 at the time, entered the fray in place of Diego Forlan, for the last quarter-of-an-hour of a home game against Portsmouth in November 2003.
19y 192d - Mason Greenwood is the first teenager to score and assist as a substitute for Manchester United in a Premier League match since Cristiano Ronaldo in November 2003 (against Portsmouth). Catalyst. pic.twitter.com/0F99dW6IJs— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 11, 2021
The Reds were 1-0 up at that point, but the Portuguese soon settled the encounter, smashing in a free-kick for what was his first goal in English football.
And minutes later, Ronaldo spotted Roy Keane quickly at a throw-in, finding the captain in space to curl home a sweet left-footed shot.
Of course, several teenagers – including Wayne Rooney, Rashford and Anthony Martial – have either found the net or set up a team-mate in the intervening 18 years, but never in the same game.
Greenwood has also now moved level with Rashford as United’s second-highest teenaged scorer in the Premier League, with 13 goals.
Next in his sights is Rooney, on 15, and Mason – who turns 20 in October – has plenty of time to carve out another piece of history.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer waxed lyrical about Greenwood’s impact after the game, highlighting the improvements he’s made to his game recently and also his rare ability to shoot effectively with either foot.
“The cross is something we worked on and Edinson's movement, of course he is excellent. And that goal, that shows what Mason has improved on this season,” said Ole.
“Normally, defenders want to show him down the right side. Okay, if you want to show him down the right, on the outside, he's got a good right foot as well. Great goal.”