Scholes says Greenwood should be United's first-choice centre forward

Paul Scholes is frustrated with Ralf Rangnick’s use of Mason Greenwood at Manchester United.

Scholes told Webby and O’Neill’s YouTube channel that he thinks Greenwood should be starting as a central striker every week for United.

Greenwood was subbed off at half-time with United 1-0 down against Newcastle on 27 December and was the first player replaced in the loss to Wolves.

That decision did not go down well with some sections of Old Trafford, although Greenwood did last the full 90 minutes against Aston Villa last night.

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“Mason Greenwood is a brilliant player – great potential. The manager keeps taking him off; he’s almost become a little bit of a scapegoat, a little bit of an easy target because he’s a young player,” said Scholes.

“He should be playing up front for this team. As good as [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Edinson] Cavani are, and have been throughout their careers, for Manchester United’s centre forwards to be 37 and 34 just tells us where the club is at.

“Greenwood has to be playing now – and in the future. He is a highly-talented lad and I’m frustrated when I watch him because you know he’s going to be the first man off every single.

“He’s been shoved out in those wide areas – the lad is an out-and-out centre forward. He will score goals in this team – no doubt about that.”

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Scholes has suggested playing Greenwood up front instead of Ronaldo, but of course that would give Rangnick a huge problem in terms of how to use the Portuguese superstar.

His comments about Greenwood also underline the risk United took when bringing Ronaldo back to the club, in terms of stunting the development of young players, such as Greenwood.

Greenwood played as the central striker in two of United’s three league games before Ronaldo’s return, but was pushed back out to the right by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thereafter, before Rangnick followed suit.

We have never seen Greenwood given a real run in the side through the middle to see if he could handle the physicality of it, and the presence of two high-earning, experienced strikers in Ronaldo and Cavani means that it is unlikely to happen any time soon – unless there are injuries.

Greenwood does not look like he is at full confidence right now, and his shots against Villa were generally lacking power and straight down Emi Martinez’s throat.

That is something Rangnick will look to change, as it is fair to say Greenwood’s form has tailed off since he set up then scored the first two goals of the German’s Old Trafford reign.

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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.