“I think he will be very good because during every game he tries to copy me,’ Van Persie said. ‘My style, my technique, my left foot, my way of finishing… so, I’m sure he will end up well.’
It may be a comment taken lightly but as one of modern football’s great strikers, Robin Van Persie is not a bad role model for Mason Greenwood.
Any Manchester United fan that is interested in their youth prospects would already know too well about Mason Greenwood and his goal-scoring exploits coming through the ranks at the Academy.
Youth coaches, first-teamers, club legends and anyone who has seen him play have all been effusive in their praise of the 18-year-old and his goal-scoring abilities. This season, thanks to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he is showing the world the promise he has.
On Sunday evening, Greenwood came off the bench to score a crucial equalizer for United late on to salvage a point for the home side and his goal was a finish Van Persie would have been proud of.
He received the ball from Daniel James on the edge of the box, shifted unto his left foot and smashed it into the goalie’s near post from range. With players all around him, he showed composure well beyond his years and tucked away his chance with great confidence. The goal kept United in touching distance of the top five, meaning Europa League qualification again is on their radar – if you feel United can finish in the top five then look at the latest markets on online soccer betting and find yourself the best price.
Obviously, Greenwood who just turned 18, is seen as a star for the future and a player who will become a starter in the long run and most likely not this season but with his performances, his manager’s comment on how increasingly difficult it is becoming to leave him out of the side coupled with the inconsistent form of regular starter Anthony Martial, young Mason might be knocking on the door for a starting berth sooner rather than later.
On a Premier League post-match show, Ryan Giggs was critical of Martial’s performance against Everton, saying he is lethargic all the time and seems to not be bothered when he plays. This has been a familiar theme when pundits talk about Martial this season and they can’t all be wrong, can they?
They all have also acknowledged his world-beating potential as well as how good he can be on his day but, in a club of this size and the kind of responsibility that rests on his shoulders as the number nine, his day needs to appear more and more often or he risks losing his place in the team.
Greenwood’s seven goals (Transfermarkt) so far this season means he is the second-highest goalscorer in all competitions for Manchester United with only Marcus Rashford boasting better numbers.
Meanwhile Martial has scored six times despite playing 390 more minutes than Greenwood in all competitions with five more starts made (Whoscored). Judging by these statistics, Mason Greenwood has been more effective than Martial and could be even more influential if given a run in the starting lineup.
Probably one of the reasons Martial has been inconsistent is the fact that he has been in and out of the team due to nagging muscle injuries and this makes him become a bit apprehensive in some games. Maybe a run of ten straight games in the side without injury will help him step up his game and see him perform on a consistent basis.
It could also be that he lacks competition as a in his position and doesn’t see Greenwood, who starts in the Europa League regularly, as much of a concrete threat but the sooner he gets that idea out of his head the better for him.
European football does not return till February next year and Greenwood will fight to become a starter in the team and get more playing time in the League before then – meaning any complacency from the Frenchman will only be good news for Greenwood.
The sooner he sees Greenwood as competition, then he might go that extra mile to impress and prove he deserves to be leading the line for the club. Such a battle up front could do wonders for the team potentially.