Mason Greenwood started his seventh game of the season against Everton on Saturday – and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s faith in the youngster is starting to pay off
Manchester United recorded their second draw of the season on Saturday as they drew 1-1 with Everton, and it may have shown a lot about how manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer views his squad.
Anthony Martial, who was not expected to start the match, opened the scoring in the 43rd minute when he fired past Jordan Pickford following a well-worked move.
But Everton came out of the half-time break the better side and they made their dominant spell worthwhile thanks to a goal from former Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend.
The 30-year-old capped off a brilliant counter-attack by the Toffees, which begun with Demarai Gray outmuscling Fred on the halfway line in humiliating style.
Manchester United via Getty Imag)
As a result of his costly error, the Red Devils midfield has come under a lot of pressure from fans, but one player who doesn’t look for replacing is Mason Greenwood.
The 20-year-old looks like Solskjaer’s first choice right-winger at Old Trafford, despite the club spending £73million on Jadon Sancho over the summer.
Greenwood has been in scintillating form this season for United, scoring three goals in his seven starts and being a constant threat in every appearance.
His pace, energy and ability with both feet makes him one of the most exciting prospects in the Premier League and, to many, he falls into the ‘must-start’ bracket after how he has begun the campaign.
However, if Solskjaer feels the same, then it raises questions on how Sancho fits into the United team.
The fact that Greenwood has started every game this season whereas the summer signing has started just two, coming off of the bench on four other occasions, suggests that the Norwegian manager feels that Greenwood is his best right-winger at the moment.
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Former Dortmund winger Sancho has not scored or registered an assist since his arrival, and his shot in the 90th minute at the weekend showed that he is a player lacking in confidence at the moment.
After a cross deflected out to Paul Pogba on the edge of the box, the Frenchman played a neat pass into Cristiano Ronaldo who then cut inside and opened up a clear shooting opportunity for Sancho.
However, with the goal at his mercy, he fired a powerless shot straight at Pickford which was met by sarcastic jeers from the Everton fans, it was his first shot on target of the season.
So, with Ronaldo the first choice striker, Marcus Rashford the obvious left-winger selection and Bruno Fernandes crucial in the no.10 role – how will Solskjaer keep Sancho happy whilst also giving Greenwood the minutes he deserves?
The latter was shockingly not included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad last week, and his club manager’s comments on the matter hint that he sees Greenwood as one of his star players.
“He’s not a teenager anymore, he is going to be a top player both for England and Man Utd, so he has to be managed the right way.
“For us, it gives us a chance to work on his fitness but to also give him a bit of a rest. He has been playing very well, in many games at a high intensity. He’s maturing all the time, getting better all the time. But it’s a time for him to recuperate and get him ready for the rest of October and for the rest of the season.”
It remains to be seen how Solskjaer deals with the immense attacking talent that he has to choose from and whether he will be able to keep all parties happy.