Greenwood details defensive development

Wednesday 27 January 2021 16:02

Mason Greenwood burst onto the scene in precocious fashion and wasted no time in showing he had all the tools required going forward to hurt even the toughest of Premier League defences.

The 19-year-old's excellent performance in Sunday's 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Emirates FA Cup provided more evidence of his undoubted talents, scoring the first-half equaliser and then showing the vision he often displayed in the youth team to create the second goal for Marcus Rashford.

However, as we all know, there is another side to the game - particularly if you are playing wide on the right and not as an out-and-out attacker. And Mason is displaying the attitude and aptitude to improve on this part of his skill set.

The stats show he has already made as many tackles in the defensive third of the pitch as he did throughout his stellar campaign last term, in around half the number of minutes. It is proof, if any is needed, that he is understanding the other side to his role, which also allows for the explosions of flair and panache when attacking the opposition goal.

"Obviously, it was an area I needed to work on really," he told us. "I can't really let Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] do the defensive stuff all by himself! He does an amazing job but it's always been something on my mind to improve on my defensive side.

“Aaron is the perfect full-back to have behind you, though. You can't really moan about that!"

Another part of the teenager's game that has stood out recently has been his ability to whip inviting crosses into the box from out on the right flank. It was a trait he learned in the younger age groups, when operating in different positions to broaden his education.

"Obviously, in the Academy, I played as a winger before so I've always been strong on crossing, passing and stuff. With Edi [Edinson Cavani], who you could say is a typical no.9 who is strong in the air, and players like Anthony [Martial] and Odion [Ighalo] [when he was here] as well, it's all good."