Could Mason Greenwood start up top for Manchester United next season?


Mason Greenwood was given his first Premier League start for Manchester United in the final game of the 2018-19 season. Could he keep his place in the opening game of the 2019-20 season?

One thing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be commended for in his first season in charge as Manchester United manager is giving many academy players a chance to showcase their talent in the first team.

The most promising of these youngsters is certainly Mason Greenwood. The 17-year-old has been a phenomenal player for the academy, scoring 15 goals and registering 5 assists in just 13 games in the U18 Premier League.

Greenwood’s performances at youth level caught the eye of Solskjaer, who consequently handed the striker his Premier League debut in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates, followed by his first Premier League start in the final game of the season against Cardiff City at home, which also ended in a 2-0 defeat.

Despite the fact that United lost both these games and failed to score, the England international was superb whenever he was on the ball, dribbling past players almost twice his age and pulling off shots from all sorts of angles.

Greenwood was especially brilliant against Cardiff, taking a whopping seven shots, making three key passes, completing three out of his five dribbles and winning all three of his tackles. All that was missing was a goal.

Given this impressive display, does the youngster have a good chance of starting for Manchester United in the 2018-19 season?

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Given that Solskjaer already has a wealth of centre-forwards to choose from within the first-team squad already, it would be highly unlikely that he would stick a 17-year-old up top in the opening game of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and even Alexis Sanchez all offer the manager something different and would not take kindly to being dropped in favour of a teenager – which could eventually push one or more of them to leave the club.

Although Greenwood could be deployed in a wide role next season, this would not be ideal for United, as they are in dire need of natural wingers who can provide width in attack. Forcing yet another striker to play on the wing is the last thing they need.

However, the young forward could get a chance to shine in another competition next season – the Europa League. Indeed, although fans were left devastated by United’s failure to secure a place in the 2019-20 Champions League, playing in the Europa League next season does have its benefits, as the lesser quality of the opponents means that Solskjaer will be more comfortable playing youngsters against them.

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So although it may take a while longer still before Mason Greenwood becomes a regular starter in the Premier League for Manchester United, he could end up being a key player for them in Europe next season.