Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

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Manchester United transfers have given Mason Greenwood a dilemma

4 min read

There’s no denying the sensational talents of Mason Greenwood, but even his most faithful supporters would find it hard to argue he has enjoyed a good season so far for Manchester United.

Already a household name across Europe, it is difficult to comprehend just how meteoric his rise has been.

But like so many before him, the 19-year-old is now diagnosed with a serious case of second season syndrome.

There is an old phrase about having two left feet, usually a bad thing, but it’s not such an issue when you’re left footed.

Greenwood’s ambipedal ability to score at ease with either foot is what really separates him from most hopefuls in world football, with the United youngster already demonstrating a calm finishing ability associated with a seasoned pro.



Already a household name across Europe, it is difficult to comprehend just how meteoric his rise has been

It was the ability to slow time in front of goal, analysing every outcome in a Matrix-like microsecond before effortlessly finding the back of the net, which really astonished onlookers as he made his long awaited breakthough last season.

Unlike many of the promising starlets before him Greenwood did not have a grand entrance onto the first-team stage.

Yes, he made his debut as a late sub on ‘that night’ in Paris, but his full debut ended in defeat to an already relegated Cardiff City.

The teenager had impressed but it was hardly a Federico Macheda moment.

In the long run it has probably aided the Bradford-born forward that such an immediate impact hasn’t burdened him like with Macheda, with the Italian never able to come remotely close to the fame which followed his debut strike against Aston Villa.

The main issue for Greenwood is that we are already talking about his talents in the past tense.

A second full season at Old Trafford was supposed to see him elevated to the senior England squad, dreaming of a place at the rescheduled European Championship, but his squad exit was almost as quick as his rise to fame.



It was the ability to slow time in front of goal, analysing every outcome in a Matrix-like microsecond before effortlessly finding the back of the net, which really astonished onlookers as he made his long awaited breakthough last season

Greenwood hasn’t made an England squad since his indiscretion in Iceland in September, when he broke COVID-19 protocols with Man City star Phil Foden by inviting girls back to the team hotel.

Both players were sent home at the time and then left out by Southgate for the October fixtures, but Foden has since returned while close friend Greenwood remains in the shadows.

His subsequent absence from an England U21 squad was explained as concerns around his fitness and mindset, rather than any disciplinary issues, but the issue for the United forward is that even without the unwanted headlines his performances simply haven’t been good enough to warrant such acclaim.



Like so many before him, the 19-year-old is now diagnosed with a serious case of second season syndrome

With just three goals in 19 appearances this season there has been something of a reality check for both club and player as Greenwood has grown accustomed to a more supplementary role from the bench.

Edinson Cavani is a cut above the rest in terms of a centre-forward option at the club, while Greenwood has fed off the scraps in attack with appearances as an inverted right winger following the club’s failure to sign a proven option in the summer – again.

The development of young duo Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri should theoretically diminish his playing time even more, leaving somewhat of a conundrum going forward.

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McTominay scored as he captained United to victory

Manchester United got back to winning ways with a low-key 1-0 victory over Watford in the FA Cup.

Scott McTominay’s early header was enough for the win at Old Trafford, as United booked their place in the hat for the fourth round.

United will now refocus on their league campaign with crucial games to come this week against Burnley and Liverpool.

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Greenwood burst through at academy level as a centre-forward but has rarely impressed in that role for the senior side. Obviously it is a huge step up in terms of both quality and physicality for the teenager, but now he needs to find a way to adapt and make that central role his own.

In veteran forward Cavani he has the perfect role model. Someone vastly experienced and who has been able to adapt his game to different formations, leagues and demands. With the Uruguayan expected to fulfil a two-year stint at Old Trafford the next goal should be simple for Greenwood – to be the ready made replacement in a year’s time.

With someone as talented as Erling Haaland also set to be available in the future, there can be no ignoring the pressure which will steadily begin to grow over the coming months.

Greenwood has already proven he has all the attributes to be a generation-defining talent, but now he faces the toughest challenge of his career – doing it consistently.

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