Football is not a predictable sport. Who would have expected Odion Ighalo to be lining up for Manchester United and performing strongly in 2020?
But some things are nailed on, like Mason Greenwood becoming a superstar.
The 18-year-old is way ahead of schedule in his career already, scoring 12 goals for the first team in his breakout season.
He has the world at his feet and he is going to be a huge part of Manchester United’s future.
United will manage him sensibly, and not rush him into becoming the team’s main striker. Anthony Martial has earned more chances.
Sooner or later though Greenwood will overtake Martial, and whoever else stands in his path. He’s that good.
2022 is a conservative estimate for Greenwood to be United’s lead striker. It’s conceivable he could end 2020 as the main man.
Natural talent combined with ruthlessness
Greenwood has shown during his time at Manchester United so far that all he needs is one chance.
There was a game at home to Partizan Belgrade earlier in the season at Old Trafford which highlighted this.
Marcus Rashford was being wasteful in front of goal, missing three easy opportunities. When Greenwood got his first opportunity he broke the deadlock.
What makes Greenwood special is his ability to score all types of goals.
He is just as likely to lash in a clinical strike from outside the box as he is to score a penalty box predator type goal.
He needs to improve his heading. He has admitted this, and a cross fizzed into him at Anfield which he failed to get a proper connection on showed this is an area he needs to work on.
At just 18, he will fill out physically over the next few years and become more confident imposing his will over defenders.
For now his speed of thought, clever movement and quick feet give him an edge already, which will also become clear.
The path ahead
Greenwood has been used sparingly over the past month, before offering a reminder of his talent with a ruthless goal against LASK, from just one of five touches he had.
Odion Ighalo and Anthony Martial are in his path right now, and another striker may be signed in the summer further.
This shouldn’t worry Greenwood. He will get his opportunities, and he will make the most of them, as his cameo in the Europa League a fortnight ago showed.
It might take an injury or two for Greenwood to get a sustained run in the side, but when it happens, he might not relinquish the opportunity.
Greenwood is United’s top striker of the future, and there’s a chance he could even seize the spot by the end of this year. He’s that good.
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