Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his position clear over recent chatter tipping Mason Greenwood for Euro 2020.
The United manager believes it is too soon, quoted by the Evening Standard: “I think Mason will have a top career, a long career, but let the boy settle in now before we talk about England and the Euros.”
Solskjaer is obviously trying to do right by Greenwood. United know the club have a special talent and want to protect him.
But he is so good that it could be impossible to slow his rise, especially with England’s current options up front looking thin.
Greenwood has netted nine goals already this season for United and is now gradually getting more and more involved in Premier League matches.
He has 11 starts this season in all competitions and six of these have come in the last month.
His talent is clear, he looks lethal whenever he is on the pitch, and Solskjaer’s pre-season comments about him being United’s best finisher look like they might be spot on.
Greenwood has a chance to surpass Romelu Lukaku’s tally of 14 goals in all competitions for United last season too, which came across 28 starts.
United have tried to protect Greenwood. Media interviews are non-existent, and Solskjaer was deliberately careful to ease him into the first team this season, when in the summer it looked like he was ready to start right away.
But some talents just can’t be held back, and the international stage is inevitable.
England might need a striker or two this summer the way it is going.
Harry Kane is out injured after undergoing hamstring surgery and The Mail report he is questionable for Euro 2020.
Marcus Rashford will have a prominent role and Tammy Abraham is in contention too, while Danny Ings could get called up.
Callum Wilson has not had a shot on target since October, while Jamie Vardy is retired from international football.
There is a case for Greenwood to be included, both to gain future experience, and because simply put, he is becoming one of the best options.
Marcus Rashford made the Euro 2016 squad after his rapid rise, and he didn’t make his United debut until February of that year. Greenwood has a big headstart by comparison.
If the squad was being picked right now, he might not make it. But in May, when Greenwood is closer to 20 goals than 10, the calls for him to be included will grow louder.
Better for United he doesn’t
Greenwood, already an under-21 international, has done pretty well so far out of the spotlight, and keeping him out of the England senior setup for just a year would help us out a little.
It minimises injury risk, distraction, and helps prevent burning out a brilliant young player.
Next season we want a fast start to the Premier League campaign, and having Greenwood around for the beginning of pre-season would help with that.
Solskjaer’s determination to protect Greenwood is in the striker’s interests and United’s, but on his current trajectory, there may be no stopping the teenager.
Even if he is not selected for the tournament, it is easy to see Gareth Southgate calling him up beforehand to take a closer look.
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