Ralf Rangnick held his first press conference on Friday morning as he kicked off a new era at Manchester United.
The German’s arrival presents a fresh start for all the players, and a much needed one for some of them.
One player who is suddenly in need of a fresh start is Mason Greenwood, who has had a tough November, having been a regular beforehand.
Greenwood missed games against Watford and Villarreal after being ruled out due to Covid. He was on the bench against Chelsea and Arsenal and was an unused substitute in both games.
So was he still feeling the effects of his illness? Or was he simply not selected? Jadon Sancho’s outstanding form has decreased United’s need to call on Greenwood in the last two games.
In matches against Chelsea and Arsenal when United did call on an extra forward, it was either Cristiano Ronaldo or Anthony Martial who came off the bench.
Edinson Cavani’s impending return from injury complicates the battle for attacking positions even further.
Greenwood has to be patient
There are three positions Greenwood can play and all of them are occupied. Cristiano Ronaldo is the top striker, Jadon Sancho is preferred on the right, currently, and Bruno Fernandes is the number 10.
Against Arsenal, Sancho actually started the game on the left, and Marcus Rashford on the right, and in situations like this, Greenwood has a chance of starting at Rashford’s expense.
This is where Greenwood has the best chance of game time, if Sancho is shifted over to the left. If United play just two forwards, then it becomes even tougher to fit Greenwood in.
The young forward has to be patient and trust his talent will shine through in the opportunities he does get. There will be plenty of games between now and the end of the season.
Greenwood is too good not to succeed, with 33 club goals already to his name. It could be argued his development begun to stall a little under Solskjaer, and he should benefit from Rangnick’s coaching.
The forward was name checked by Rangnick as a talent in his opening press conference, quoted by The MEN, with the coach commenting: “I’m more than happy with the offensive strike power we have here and t the offensive players we have here and quite a few of them did not play yesterday. Martial only came on in the last five minutes, Mason didn’t play at all we have so many top players in the offensive department.”
For Greenwood, who has been on the periphery over the past month, hearing Rangnick speak about him will be welcome and fill him with confidence.
United have a chance to rotate the team next week against Young Boys and so if he does not get a chance against Crystal Palace, an opportunity could come then.
Balancing game time between Greenwood, Sancho, Martial and Rashford is not easy, especially with Cristiano Ronaldo a near must-start.
Greenwood is only 20, and the exact type of talent Rangnick would be pushing to sign if he was playing elsewhere. He will be pleased for the fresh start, which comes at the exact time he needs one.
Mason Greenwood’s career so far
- 17 first team goals in his debut season
Greenwood tied a record set by George Best and Wayne Rooney on their first campaigns for the club.
- Five Europa League goals in his first season
Greenwood’s goals in the Europa League saw him become the club’s youngest ever scorer in European competition.
- 10 Premier League goals
Greenwood became the first teenager since 1997/98 to score 10 Premier League goals or more in a season.
- Absolutely prolific at youth level
Greenwood scored 31 goals in 30 under-18 games, plus five in five UEFA Youth League matches. He scored three in three FA Youth Cup games, and four in seven under-23 matches, before being fast-tracked to the first team.
- Already a Champions League scorer
Greenwood scored his first Champions League goal for Manchester United against RB Leipzig. It came with his first ever shot in the competition.
- The 20 goal mark
Greenwood scored his 20th United goal in December 2020. He became the youngest United player to do so since Norman Whiteside in 1987.
- Double figures again
Greenwood reached double figures for the second successive season in the win over Roma. He became the second United player to score in five separate competitions in the 2020/21 season, and has now netted in a European semi-final.
- The 30 goal barrier
Greenwood scored his 30th Manchester United goal in August 2021. At just 19, he became one of just three teenagers to do so for the club, along with Whiteside and George Best.
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