Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offers hope to Mason Greenwood despite Cristiano Ronaldo arrival
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Mason Greenwood has spent parts of the current season operating at Manchester United’s no.9, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now brought in former hero Cristiano Ronaldo to occupy the role, but believes the 19-year-old can flouroush in the future.
Mason Greenwood has been one of Manchester United’s stand-out performers so far this season, filling in the centre-forward role when called upon.
The 19-year-old has scored in each of United’s three opening Premier League games, and flourished after being given the opportunity to lead the line, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s summer transfer business has created some doubts over the forward’s game time.
United had an excellent summer window, bringing in Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho before pulling off a sensational return for Cristiano Ronaldo on Deadline Day, who is expected to become their new no.9 for the foreseeable future.
However, Greenwood has proved that he can operate across all of United’s front line, and Solskjaer believes in the young talent to take on this role in the future.
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Greenwood has already been shipped out to the right wing this season after the United boss gave Anthony Martial an opportunity in the central role, which was unsuccessful, but the Englishman still delivered out wide, and has single-handedly been responsible for four of United’s seven points to start off the season.
The 19-year-old is one of the most promising talents in the Premier League, and rather than Ronaldo’s arrival hindering Greenwood’s success, it could push him to the next level as there is no better mentor than the Portuguese star.
Ronaldo predominantly operated out wide during his first spell at United, and in the latter stages of his career he has become a deadly finisher in a central role, and Greenwood could follow the same path as the five-time Ballon D’or winner.
It’s easy to forget how young Greenwood is, as he is only a year older than Ronaldo was when he joined the club back in 2003, and Solskjaer has tipped the 19-year-old to make the no.9 position his own in years to come.
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The United boss said back in April: “Maybe in the future he can play as a central striker, but I still think that’s a few years away, Solskjaer said. “Being a centre-forward in the Premier League is probably the hardest position to play.
“At the moment, I think Mason is more suited to playing that wide role, dropping into pockets, finding space and running in behind.
“I don’t want him with his back to goal and having two centre-backs up his backside. I think we have found a good way to develop him, but he might end up as a No 9.”
Greenwood is still only a teenager and United will be wary about being too reliant on him at such a young age, which could lead to a burnout early in his career, and he still has plenty of learning and developing to do.
With the 19-year-old already performing at such a high level, these developments will surely put him amongst the best in Europe in years to come, and the arrival of Ronaldo can only boost that even further.
Solskjaer has never stated that Greenwood would be the club’s primary striker just yet, so Ronaldo’s arrival will not stand in the way of the youngster as it’s not his time yet.
However, Ronaldo signed a two-year deal with the option of a third year, so Greenwood’s time will come, and he could be well on the way to becoming the full package by then.
Greenwood can spend the next two or three years improving his game in a variety of positions, emulating and shadowing one of the all-time greats.
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