Mason Greenwood could score himself an early birthday present

Manchester United youngster Mason Greenwood turns 18 on Tuesday and could well seize the chance to grab an early birthday present on Monday night (tonight).

That’s because his form in the cup competitions and United’s lack of fit strikers makes him likely to get a first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal.

We’ve taken a look at whether he deserves the start and at a couple of United hitmen he could follow in the footsteps of against the Gunners.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Should Greenwood start tonight?

Few could doubt that in the Europa League against Astana and the EFL Cup against Rochdale that Greenwood added pace and adventure to United’s attack.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

The question is whether he can step up and bring that quality to the fore against a top six Premier League team under the pressure that brings.

He has taken on every challenge in his way with aplomb, although perhaps it would be more useful for him to operate from the right hand side, where he has played in those cup games.

But that will depend on whether Anthony Martial is fit to return through the middle, otherwise Greenwood will likely get the chance up front on his own.

Arsenal’s backline is fragile, and Greenwood has the quality to make a splash if he can handle the pressure.

Photo by Chris Coleman/Manchester United via Getty Images

Rooney and Rashford point the way

Back in October 2004, Wayne Rooney netted the second goal as United ended Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run.

That 2-0 victory marked his 19th birthday, so Greenwood has the opportunity to make his mark at an even younger age than Rooney did.

And it was against Arsenal that Marcus Rashford made his Premier League debut, back in 2016.

He netted twice in a 3-2 victory, as a young, injury-hit United side stunned Arsene Wenger’s men.

That result perhaps provides a blueprint for success tonight and if Greenwood can emulate Rashford’s goalscoring exploits then, he will get the best early birthday present he could ask for.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.