Manchester United have a wealth of young talent at the front of their attack. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been in the senior team for a few years and have shown the ability to change games with their dynamism, while Swansea product, Dan James has started off his United career with 3 magnificent goals. The best among them, may very well be 17-year-old academy product Mason Greenwood. Despite having just a handful of minutes in the senior team, Greenwood has more goals from open play than Rashford has in the last 6 months.
United have struggled to score this season in large part due to their inability to create chances and poor finishing, both are Greenwood’s strong suits. While Rashford and Martial can dribble by a defender, Greenwood has shown time and again that the number of defenders in front of him, is irrelevant. Last season, while rising from the U18s to the U23s at the tender age of 16, Greenwood scored 31 goals, many of which he created from nothing. Among his goals last season, Greenwood dribbled by as many as 6 defenders on route to beating the keeper. While Greenwood doesn’t have the pace of James and Rashford, his ability to beat defenders is unmatched by anyone in this United team.
One of the best arguments for Greenwood to start for United week in and week out, is the fact that he doesn’t have a weak foot. Greenwood is naturally right footed but, of his 31 goals last season, only 16 were with his right foot. The other 15 included 1 with his head and 14 with his left foot, not to mention that both of his senior goals were left footed shots. Greenwood had 10 assists last season that were split equally between his right and left feet. Against West Brom’s U18s, Greenwood, on his way to a hat trick, curled a volley into the top corner from 25 yards out with outside of his supposedly weaker left foot. He actually has more goals from free kicks with his left foot, including a 30 yards screamer he put into the top corner against Newcastle’s U23s.
Greenwood has proven that he can score from any part of the pitch with about any part of his body besides his head. He can create his own chances, something that United sorely need. He has the ability to finish chances that United legend and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says is already second to none on the United team. With the United attack in midst of a fitness crisis, it seems time to turn to perhaps their most promising academy product since the legendary Class of 92’.
Author: Jason Levin - 23, from Chicago. Lifelong Manchester United fan. You can find me on Instagram @jasonlevin17