Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has congratulated Mason Greenwood on his development so far with Manchester United – but has given the teenager some solid advice on how to become their main attacking focal point.
The Bradford-born attacker is now in his third season in United’s first-team. Despite only being 19, Greenwood has already clocked up 99 appearances for the Red Devils. Most of his outings this season have come on the right side of the attack. Many observers though see his long-term position as a No 9.
Solskjaer admits he’s a huge fan of the teenager. However, the Norwegian has told Greenwood he “might need to break his nose once in a while” if he’s to eventually become their main man in attack.
Nonetheless, when asked how he rates the player, Solskjaer spoke highly of the teenager.
“Before the Liverpool game – which would have been his 100th for the club by the way – we’d set to him, ‘make sure you score the winner’.
“That’s what he does, he scores goals,” Solskjaer said. “But this season, he’s really added the link-up play. He’s so clever, he’s so clean in his play. He’s giving assists.”
Solskjaer was addressing the media ahead of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Roma. The Red Devils are all-but guaranteed a place in the final after a 6-2 first-leg win.
And when asked if Greenwood can earn a start at centre forward, his manager offered some timely advice.
“Decision-making is one thing, but if he’s going to play wide right or centre forward, it’s the filling out,” Solskjaer added.
“He needs to get used to having players in your back, facing him the wrong way. If you want to be a No 9, you’re going to get hurt. You’ve got to stick your head in and break your nose every once in a while. He’s a pretty boy though and I’m not sure if he wants to do that!
“But that’s the challenge for him. He’s got loads of work to do, but listen, he just needs to keep doing what he does. But look, he’s only 19.
“He’s doing the right things on the training ground, so I’m very very happy with him.”
Solskjaer admits fans need a voice
Greenwood was of course denied the chance to make his 100th appearance for United after Sunday’s game with Liverpool was postponed. That came about after a large number of fans protested against the club’s owners, the Glazer family.
While the gatherings themselves were peaceful, some fans made matters violent. Indeed, one police officer suffered a serious eye injury, while footage showed a man damaging a television camera inside the stadium.
Solskjaer told reporters (via the Manchester Evening News): “It was a difficult day for us. Of course we wanted to play, to beat Liverpool for the fans.
“Our job is getting good results on the pitch. But as I said before the game, we have to listen, to hear the fans’ voice.
“It’s everyone’s right to protest but it has to be in a civilised manner. But unfortunately when you break in, when police officers are scarred for life, that’s a step too far.
“Then it’s a police matter, it’s not about showing your opinions anymore.”