In the days gone by, it would have been a routine 4-0 victory against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday for Manchester United. Although United are far away from restoring that norm and fear factor back at Old Trafford, they do now possess the attacking prowess as they did in the years gone by. Mason Greenwood, the youngest of the lot, might just be the most lethal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously lauded Greenwood as the best finisher at the club, ahead of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. And why wouldn’t he? Greenwood boasted a record of 44 goals and 12 assists in 47 appearances for the Manchester United U18’s, U19’s and U23’s. The 18-year-old has built on that record with the first team as well. He has six goals and a solitary assist in 18 appearances, most of whom were cameos of the bench.
Greenwood’s finishing was on show last night, as he blasted two past Marco Bizot. For the first, he cut onto his left from the right and blasted it home on the bottom right corner. For the second, he plunged on the loose ball outside the ball and hit it home on the same corner, with the ball curling away from the AZ keeper. He just seems to get an extra yard in and around the box and raffle it into the net. He is as two-footed as they come and is an instinctive scorer.
Greenwood has quick feet which not only make him an excellent dribbler but even more dangerous in the final third. He is versatile, having played as a striker, second striker and on either wing in the United academy. Solskjaer so far has used the teenager out on the right or up top.
The English U-21 international has not been fazed by the pressure at all but is instead enjoying it. He has matched his natural talent with the consummate work ethic. The Manchester United #26 tracked back every time AZ attacked. He also created two chances last night, furthering his overall impact on the game. Greenwood also became the youngest Manchester United player to score a brace in a European game.
Solskjaer saw the rise of a teenage Wayne Rooney as a player, he is now seeing the rise of a teenage Greenwood as a manager…