The first-team picture looks bleak at Manchester United right now, so perhaps the best news of the week came from the junior ranks.
17-year-old Mason Greenwood signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford this week. The striker is one of the hottest young prospects at the club right now and United have done the right thing in tying him down.
We’ve taken a look at why he’s so exciting and what his first-team prospects are; with or without Jose Mourinho still in charge at United…
What’s all the fuss about?
There is nothing that gets football fans excited quite like someone who knows where the goal is and Greenwood is exactly that.
He has already represented England at Under 18 level, despite only turning 17 on Monday. Last season, his 17 goals spearheaded United’s Premier League North title win at the same age group, when he was still at school.
He’s scored nine times already this season and spent time with the senior side during the pre-season tour of America during the summer.
His goalscoring instinct is his best quality; he has found the net in both his UEFA Youth League matches so far.
All that adds up to make him the club’s most exciting forward since Marcus Rashford came through.
Will Mourinho hold him back?
Mourinho’s mistrust of young players is well-documented. In a recent press conference, he defended the amount of gametime afforded to Rashford, but there are two caveats to note.
The first is that Rashford had already come through the ranks before Mourinho’s arrival; would the Portuguese have given the young Englishman his chance? It’s doubtful at best.
Secondly, Rashford has seldom played in his favoured centre-forward position. Romelu Lukaku is the undisputed first-choice striker and that issue will impact Greenwood as well.
At least until Mourinho leaves. If United get a manager who understands the traditions of the club – using young players and attacking football – Greenwood should be close to the top of list of players who will benefit.
Greenwood is a frighteningly good prospect, but United might not see the best of him until after Mourinho departs the club.