Mason Greenwood enjoyed a goalscoring start to the season for Man Utd having played as their No 9 but the teenager has doubts about the position long-term at Old Trafford
Mason Greenwood doesn’t want to be Manchester United’s No 9 according to Darren Fletcher, who works with the talented forward.
The Red Devils produced a five-star show on the opening weekend of the season against Leeds.
Greenwood, labelled “frightened” by Ian Wright, grabbed his side’s second with an excellent touch and finish at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tasked him with leading the line.
The teenager faces plenty of competition in attack, but a host of his colleagues were absent last weekend for various reasons.
Greenwood, like many of United’s forwards, has excelled from a wider role.
Few of Solskjaer’s options are natural strikers, content to lead the line, which has made selection difficult at times.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial prefer to operate from out wide with new boy Jadon Sancho also a winger.
Edinson Cavani is the only out and out centre forward in the squad and former player Andy Cole revealed that Greenwood himself is reluctant to take up the position.
“I don’t think Mason wants to play as a centre forward. That’s a difficult, difficult role,” Cole said on on the Kelly & Wrighty Show.
“To be a No. 9, that’s pressure. Being off the left or the right is different. Being a No. 9 at Old Trafford, that’s pressure.
“With Mason’s talent, he can play across the line. But speaking to some of the coaches, like Fletch [Darren Fletcher], I don’t think he’s fixed as playing as a No. 9.
“It’s tough at such a young age. To be Manchester United ’s No. 9 at that age is hard work. I don’t think they’re looking at Mason as a No. 9 but he’ll be in the team and play for sure.”
Greenwood opted against playing with England in the summer as he addressed an injury.
Solskjaer can already see the benefits of an extended break and has praised the 19-year-old’s maturity.
“I think you can see the benefit in his… I think you can see how much work he has put down this pre-season in his summer,” he said. “He’s turned into a man.
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“He’s filling out, he’s stronger. His stride is stronger – you know, when he ran away from the defender and scored his goal, it was a joy to see.
“His approach, attitude, application, everything he has done every day has been just better and better and I think that’s maturity as well in the kid.”
Greenwood, following an excellent breakthrough season in 2019/20, struggled last term, scoring just seven league goals.
Netting in the season opener will have been a huge boost in which case and he may again be called upon to lead the United line this weekend at Southampton.