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 BBC 5 Live Sport, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has drawn comparisons between Mason Greenwood and Robin van Persie.
Amidst an injury to Anthony Martial, the teenager could be in line for just his second league start of his career when United take on Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday. And Giggs has now revealed the club have every right to be “excited” with the forward.
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He said: “I think you can get excited about his talent. You never know when players step up to the first team how long it will take them to get used to being at a big club.
“He’s talented. I’ve seen a lot of him. Both feet. He actually looks and moves like Robin van Persie. He’s a talent. It will help if he’s coming into a team that’s scoring goals. That always helps if you’re a young player coming into the first team.”
Talk about trying to keep a lid on expectations. At 17, and with barely any senior football to his name, Greenwood’s name has been front and centre of every conversation that revolves around United’s ‘youth revolution’.
But for Solskjaer and Giggs to come out with statements that they feel he is ready to essentially take the Premier League by storm does him no favours whatsoever. Whatever happened to protecting youngsters and keeping them away from the spotlight?
United have a responsibility with Greenwood to nurture him the right way, and hyperbolic comments and extravagant comparisons are certainly not going to ease the burden on the young prodigy’s shoulders.
Giggs of all people should be aware of how difficult it must be to handle the pressure and expectation that comes with being a fledgling star, and he would do well to remember his own days when next deciding to lavish praise on a United youngster.