Ole: Sky's the limit for Greenwood
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says there is no limit to what Mason Greenwood can achieve at the top level.
The 18-year-old netted his 13th goal of the season in all competitions at Brighton on Tuesday, and followed it up with a sublime assist, his fifth in total this campaign, as Bruno Fernandes capped off a convincing win for the Reds.
Mason has started each of our last two league games, and the boss believes the way in which the forward has gradually had his playing time increased is starting to pay dividends.
“We have done well over the course of the season, giving him more and more exposure, more and more game-time,” Ole told reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“You know, it's not easy being a young boy, he could still play in this season's FA Youth Cup team, so he's a young boy that we have to look after.
“But he's performing from the bench or when he starts, and he's developed fantastically this season. So, the sky is the limit, it's up to him. He knows what he should do and can do and must do, to keep on playing, but that will be between us.”
Greenwood looks to have bulked up over lockdown, with Ole and team-mate Scott McTominay previously stating that he had now ‘started to look like a man’.
The England Under-21 international has been occupying the right-wing slot in recent weeks, but Solskjaer says his attributes mean he can fit in anywhere across the forward line.
“Well, he's a centre-forward by trade, but he likes to drift wide, he likes to face forward and that's a different role than being a forward up through the middle,” he continued.
“You can see some centre-forwards who like their back to the goal, get over the ball, link it, which Mason is improving on. His body is filling out and he can play that position.
“But I think we can see him like maybe we have done with Marcus [Rashford] and Anthony [Martial] as well, they're good centre-forwards, very good footballers, good goalscorers, with good movement, they're not stuck between the posts.”
Of course, Solskjaer himself knows what it takes to be a prolific striker in his first full campaign at Premier League level, having top-scored for the Reds with 18 in 33 in 1996/97. But even the Norwegian has to admit that Greenwood is far in front of what he was doing at a similar stage in his career – Ole played in Norway until he was signed by United, at the age of 23.
“Mason is way ahead of where I was, when I was 18/19, that’s for sure,” he said.
“I don’t really want to say anything different because it’s natural for him. It’s what I felt I could do well as well.
“He’s a brilliant boy to work with, he keeps on learning and he keeps on making better decisions. He’ll be good.