This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking on BT Sport, Manchester United legend Paul Scholes delivered a ringing endorsement of Mason Greenwood’s potential after his goal-scoring display against Partizan Belgrade.
The 18-year-old impressed in the Europa League clash on Thursday night, capping off a fine performance with a well-taken goal in the Red Devils’ eventual 3-0 victory.
And, after seeing his display, Scholes waxed lyrical over the teenager, comparing him to former United marksman Robin van Persie, and also suggesting he would become a better goal-scorer than teammate Marcus Rashford.
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He said (as quoted by The Evening Standard): “I think they (Greenwood and Van Persie) both have that stylish way about them with that left foot. It’s almost like a bit of Velcro at times. They’re both great finishers, everything seems so smooth. We talk about United not having number nines, but he could be a number nine because of that sheer composure that he has in front of goal.
“He just calms himself down, takes a touch. We saw Marcus in the first half, where he should have taken a touch and he didn’t, we saw Mason take that touch and it made the big difference. I think Mason will be a better goalscorer than Marcus.”
After impressing on the club’s pre-season tour in the summer – he scored against both Inter and Leeds – much would have been expected of Greenwood coming into the season. And though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn’t exactly gifted him with plenty of opportunities (he has played just 112 minutes of Premier League football), when it has come, he has invariably taken it with both hands.
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The academy product scored in both games he started against FC Astana and Rochdale respectively earlier in the season, and once again showed on Thursday night that he has a certain calmness to his game. It is that ability to stay ice-cold and finish under pressure that understandably led to Scholes suggesting he has a big advantage over Rashford. And whilst the latter has transitioned to the left-hand side, Greenwood could go from playing on the right-wing as he did against Partizan, to a more central role in the future.