Why Mason Greenwood is worth more than €100 million

Mason Greenwood, Manchester United. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Mason Greenwood, Manchester United. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /

Mason Greenwood was recently included in the CIES top 100 most valuable footballers in the world. The youngster was ranked 24th but this ranking is slightly low considering the impact he has had in a calendar year at Manchester United.

Mason Greenwood made his professional debut for Manchester United during their 3-1 victory against Paris Saint Germain in March of 2019. The striker only played a few minutes on that historic night. He made his full debut against Cardiff City on the final day of the 2018/2019 season.

He showed glimpses on the day but couldn’t really get a foot hold in the match. Last season was Greenwood’s breakout season. In 51 appearances for the Red Devils, the teenager scored 19 goals and provided 5 assists.

In 2019, the forward scored his first ever goal, against Astana in the Europa League in September. He scored goals against Rochdale, Everton, Sheffield United, AZ Alkmaar, Partizan Belgrade and Newcastle United as well. But if his 2019 was good, his 2020 was brilliant.

In the second half of United’s 2019/2020 season, Greenwood scored 9 goals and his ruthlessness in front of goal was clear to see. This is evidenced by his expected goals number. Expected goals or xG is a measure of the quality of a shot, based on the distance, stronger or weaker foot, whether it’s a header or a shot with their feet. It ranks every chance from 0.01 (very low-quality chance), to 0.99 (very high-quality chance).

Greenwood, who scored 10 goals in the Premier League had an expected goal number of 3.39 xG according to Understat. This number tells us from the quality of his chances you would expect the striker to have scored 3 maybe 4 goals. Instead the Englishman scored 10 goals – he is incredibly prolific and his numbers are incredible for a player so young.

The Manchester United striker got even better after the lockdown

After the first lockdown in March, football subsequently returned in June. During the lockdown period, Greenwood bulked up a bit and looked more assured in his performances after the break. He was substituted onto the pitch against Tottenham Hotspur and had a chance to win the game for United, but he didn’t.

Greenwood was not as involved in the wins against Sheffield United or Norwich in the FA Cup before United travelled down to the Amex to play Brighton. He was electric there. His first goal was a brilliant finish, he received the ball in the penalty box, with a defender ahead of him. He did a few step overs and took a touch to set himself up before dragging the ball through the defender’s leg and finishing brilliantly.

Greenwood also provided an assist from the left-hand side as his cross for Bruno Fernandes to finish on the volley was brilliant.

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In United’s next game against Bournemouth, Greenwood produced arguably his best performance of the year. The striker was electric once again, his first goal assisted by Fernandes was a powerful shot with his left foot, which was too hot for Aaron Ramsdale to handle. His second goal was pure quality receiving the ball from Matic he evaded two challenges and got the shot away with his equally strong right foot and again, Ramsdale couldn’t keep it out.

One of Greenwood’s biggest assets is his ability to use both feet with almost equal power and accuracy. His brilliant finish against Bournemouth, highlighting this. They tried to show him on to his perceived weaker side, it wasn’t enough though.

Being able to finish equally as well on both feet is a massive advantage for Greenwood because defenders can’t push him on to his weaker foot, so this is a huge strength in his game. He scored two more goals before the season ended, one with each foot.

Greenwood scored a fantastic goal against Aston Villa after receiving a pass from forward Anthony Martial. Greenwood took a touch with his ‘stronger’ left foot before rifling the ball past Pepe Reina with his right foot.

Greenwood’s final goal of last season came at a crucial time against West Ham. After playing a one two with striker Martial, he hit a low drive past Lukasz Fabianski at the goalkeeper’s near post, very similar to his goal against Brighton in June or Everton in the previous December.

This season has been a difficult one for both his personal life and his footballing career. The 19-year-old has 3 goals and 3 assists to his name till now, although his season has been very stop start. After the very well publicised indiscretion in September, it has appeared to be difficult for the striker to keep his head in the game, with the media scrutiny more intense than ever.

It should not be too long though before he is firing on all cylinders again. Along with his clinical shooting, Greenwood has other areas of his game where he also excels at. He has an 83% pass completion rate this season, with an 85% pass completion rate last season. Shot creation actions are defined as the two offensive actions leading to a shot, pass or dribble or drawing fouls. His per 90 rate is 2.00 shot creation actions, with 14 shot creation actions overall.

Greenwood has completed 11 progressive passes and 5 passes into the penalty area. In short, he is a brilliant finisher, a brilliant passer of the ball for a striker and is great at holding on to the ball as well. 50 of his passes this season has been made successfully under pressure.

There is no doubt that Greenwood has huge bags of potential at the top level. He has had a difficult start to the season and yet still has 3 brilliantly taken goals to show for it. People seem to forget the striker is just 19.

Greenwood will come good and his terrific performances in 2020 deserves to rank him higher in the CIES top 100 most valuable footballers, certainly in the top 20 and maybe even the top 10, he is that good.