Mason Greenwood is a young man on a mission for Manchester United right now.
The wonderkid has four goals in his last three Premier League games, and now has 16 goals in all competitions this season.
He has the football world at his feet, but before fans go out and order a ‘Greenwood 26’ shirt for next season, it is probably worth considering that his squad number could change for 2020/21 and beyond.
It is not an exaggeration to say Greenwood is already Manchester United’s best ever number 26.
Previous players to wear the shirt include Shinji Kagawa, Gabriel Obertan, Manucho, Phil Bardsley and Massimo Taibi.
In recognition of his performances this season, Greenwood could get a ‘promotion’, unless he decides to really make 26 a historic number at Old Trafford by wearing it for the next decade.
Here is a look at five options for Greenwood and United to switch his squad number around from next season…
United’s number seven shirt is officially assigned to loaned out Alexis Sanchez when he returns, but it is probable he never wears it again.
Greenwood has the talent to break United’s recent number seven curse, with no player successfully stepping up since Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2009.
There are two arguments against doing this. Firstly, this would add extra pressure to Greenwood, which he could do without. We saw this backfire with Adnan Januzaj with the number 11 shirt in 2014.
The essentially vacant number seven shirt could also be more valuable to lure a star player to the club.
German outlet Sport1 has already reported that the seven shirt will be given to Jadon Sancho if he signs for United this summer.
Is it time up for Juan Mata? This summer could be the right time for United to sell the Spaniard, who has not started a Premier League match since the restart.
The number eight shirt was worn by record goalscorer Wayne Rooney when he signed in 2004, before he switched to 10 in 2007.
8 is not traditionally a typical number for a striker, other former eight’s include Nicky Butt and Paul Ince.
It would however signify that Greenwood is increasingly regarded as one of the team’s first choice players.
United’s number 11 shirt has been vacant since Anthony Martial moved to reclaim the 9 shirt last summer.
This was the squad number worn for 20 years by Ryan Giggs, with huge success.
Greenwood has the potential to wear this shirt and succeed for a similar amount of time to the Welshman.
United’s current number 14 is Jesse Lingard and it looks like his time at Old Trafford is coming to an end.
14 is a more significant number than 26 and this could be a shirt which he wears for the rest of his United career.
Successful players to previously wear United’s 14 include Chicharito, and Andrei Kanchelskis.
The number 20 shirt has taken on significance at United over the past two decades, although it is lacking a little relevancy at present, with Diogo Dalot barely getting a game.
United could easily switch Dalot around, or loan or sell him this summer to make way for Greenwood to take the number.
Greenwood has been consistently likened to Robin van Persie in style and it would make sense for him to wear his old squad number.
20 was also the number worn by United’s current manager and Greenwood’s mentor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He even copies his famous kneeslide celebration.
It could be fitting that the young United forward becomes the next player to wear the club’s number 20 shirt and make it an even more iconic one.
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