With all the focus on Manchester United new boy, Mason Greenwood ha been allowed to fade into the background again.
This is how it should be at this stage of his career. The 18-year-old is not quite ready to start every week and United should not expect him to. Ighalo’s arrival means he doesn’t need to.
But there is still a strong case that Greenwood should get the start for United on Monday night against Chelsea.
Rested and ready
It’s important that Greenwood has had a couple of weeks off. In late January he was looking tired and not having the impact on games he would like.
Having this breather was important for him and he is now rested and ready for action.
He’s spent the last week training with his teammates under the watchful eye of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the United coaching staff.
While this seems normal, it gives him an advantage over new signing Odion Ighalo, who is yet to train with his new teammates.
Greenwood has an advantage therefore over the Nigerian when it comes to potentially starting against Chelsea. Monday’s game may just come too soon for the loanee to be expected to do anything more than an appearance off the bench.
How he fits in
United have an option to line up with two striker at Stamford Bridge and Greenwood could feature alongside Anthony Martial.
This wouldn’t be overly risky from United in an away game either if Solskjaer goes with a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Having Greenwood and Martial up top with Bruno Fernandes in behind would cause Chelsea problems, and having three at the back as United have done in a number of big games this season provides defensive strength.
Alternately Greenwood may be selected on the right in a 4-2-3-1 formation as he has been several times this season already.
It’s been hit and miss for him there, sometimes he is too isolated, but with Fernandes in the team, Greenwood may have more success.
What’s at stake?
This is a big, big game and if Greenwood has a decisive impact it will set him up for a strong second half of the season.
He already has 10 goals this campaign for the first team and United need him to start adding to this tally.
Scoring on Monday night would also be very timely if he can overshadow Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham.
If Greenwood does out perform the Chelsea striker, it will really start to build his case for a potential place in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
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