So it has not been the smoothest start to the season for teenage sensation Mason Greenwood.
From the England debacle to claims he has been late for training on multiple occasions [The Times], Greenwood needs to buckle up.
The Times reports Greenwood was left out of the squads to face Newcastle and PSG as a result, adding: “It is understood Greenwood has also been warned by the club over his behaviour in recent weeks.”
Solskjaer is said to have been disappointed by the youngster, even if he will defend him publicly. Greenwood was pictured training ahead of the PSG game but did not travel.
What happens next is important. Greenwood hopefully will come back into first team consideration as soon as possible, whether this be against Chelsea, RB Leipzig, or Arsenal.
It is a case of probably ‘quicker the better’, because the longer this drags on, the bigger issue it creates.
The path for a young player is rarely smooth. Especially when they are as talented as Mason Greenwood.
Nobody is suggesting United will see Greenwood become the next Ravel Morrison, but it is important to acknowledge that the way Sir Alex Ferguson handled him, keeping him out of the first team picture, probably did not help the lost talent.
Fergie handled Wayne Rooney differently, and that was because like Greenwood, he had already established himself as a first team player.
Rooney had his fair share of mishaps, and errors of judgement, and each time he got an opportunity to do what he did best, and respond by creating headlines on the pitch.
Even under Louis van Gaal, at the age of 29, Rooney was still getting himself in the papers for the wrong reasons, after a video was published in a national newspaper of him sparring with former teammate Phil Bardsley in his kitchen.
Rooney was picked the same day the news broke, and responded by scoring in a win over Tottenham at Old Trafford, before celebrating with a now infamous ‘knockout celebration’, as reported at the time by BBC Sport.
This immediately diffused the controversy, stopped it dragging on, and saw Rooney’s name in the headlines for the right reasons: for his football ability.
Give Greenwood the same chance
Greenwood has been in a downward spiral off the pitch for the last month, and while that may sound a bit dramatic, it is time for him to snap out of it.
Missing out on the PSG game should have been a wake up call – ironically what he may need considering the accusations of lateness.
Keeping him out of the team and extending his punishment for another week or two does not help him.
Greenwood is a similar calibre talent to Rooney. He equalled his breakout goalscoring season last year with 17 goals for United’s first team.
Solskjaer has handled him very well up until now, and would not have taken this action unless he felt it was necessary.
Now it is time to bring Greenwood back in. Whether it be on the bench or as a starter against Chelsea, the talented teenager needs to be able to do his talking on the pitch.
A winning goal for Greenwood and all the negativity goes away. He’s talented enough, and will be fired up to make an impact.
If Edinson Cavani is viewed as not ready, and with Anthony Martial suspended, United may need him.
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