Solskjaer underlines one area Greenwood still needs to improve

Manchester United were perhaps a shade fortunate to go in at half time against AZ Alkmaar last night at 0-0.

But they crackled into life in spectacular style during a second half blitz and Mason Greenwood was at the forefront of everything good.

Greenwood netted twice and won the penalty Juan Mata converted to further enhance his growing reputation.

After the match, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered a verdict on where he still needs to improve and we’ve taken a look at whether his United team-mates can help him.

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‘… then he can be a proper striker’

As quoted by ESPN, Solskjaer said of Greenwood post-match: “I’ve probably said it all before, that’s what he [Mason] does. Tomorrow he will probably go into training and score a few more. He has always done it.

“That is just natural for him. He is a natural footballer. The closer he gets to goal the more dangerous he is. Right-foot, left-foot, he is a nightmare for defenders.

“He needs to develop his heading. Then he can be a proper striker. I’ve seen a few good ones, I played with Wazza [Wayne Rooney], natural finishing he’s one of the best I’ve seen.”

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Do United provide good enough aerial service?

In the 2009/10 season, Rooney’s heading – after years of being a relative weak spot – became a real weapon.

But he was supplied by Antonio Valencia on the right wing, helped by Nani on the other side. Do United have players capable of similar quality now?

Andreas Pereira is meant to be a dead-ball specialist but has not put in quality from open play this term, despite playing on both wings at times.

For a converted winger, Ashley Young’s delivery is so poor, while Aaron Wa-Bissaka has a lot to learn coming forward from right back.

Luke Shaw isn’t much better on the left, and it might be too much to ask Brandon Williams to be the man to provide the bullets for his fellow teen.

The next step for Greenwood is to improve in the air – just as Rooney did – but United lack the quality of service from wide, with Daniel James preferring low, fizzed crosses, to get the most out of him even if he does.

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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.