Mason Greenwood has announced himself as Manchester United‘s next big thing and to-date manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has carefully controlled his game time to manage his development. It’s time to give him a run of starts in the Premier League.
Should Mason Greenwood Start For Manchester United?
Replacing Daniel James
Jadon Sancho may be Manchester United’s long-term plan for a right-winger, but as they look to conclude the season they’re stuck with Daniel James. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s a good player. However, he isn’t quite ready to shoulder the responsibility that comes with being the first choice at Old Trafford, especially in a position where the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have previously starred.
Manchester United could do him a favour and free him of such expectation. This is something they are able to do now, with the help of Mason Greenwood.
James could benefit more from becoming an impact substitute. His pace will always pose a threat to the tired legs of the opposing defenders. Manchester United are yet to really use this to their advantage.
There’s also an argument for James preferring to operate on the left-hand side. He seems more comfortable cutting in on his right foot and taking a shot on from that angle.
What the Numbers Say
At the age of 18, Greenwood has already showcased his capability and potential in the first team.
He has managed to score 12 goals in 37 senior appearances this season. Despite 23 appearances, he has barely started games in the Premier League – just four to be exact.
You could argue that James, 22, has been more productive in the Premier League than Greenwood, with three goals and six assists, compared to the Englishman’s five goals and zero assists. However, James has featured in over 2,000 minutes of league football and Greenwood holds just under 700 to his name.
Both players are young, though Greenwood’s development is perhaps more delicate to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Daniel James far more exposed to senior football.
Impact Versus Spurs
It was the first game back after the enforced break, but Manchester United struggled in areas against Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night. Paul Pogba and Greenwood came on at the same time, the former is credited with the biggest impact, and rightly so. However, Greenwood added a greater threat than James. Constantly driving forward and keeping Tottenham’s defenders alert. He even had a chance to win the game in the closing stages, just wide.
He’s a tricky player to defend against. The old adage ‘men vs boys’ doesn’t apply to him. He often makes the men look like the boys when given the platform to. He’s capable with both feet.
Daniel James doesn’t offer as many options. Being largely right-footed, the defenders aren’t questioning which way he will go, just what he will do. Though he does have the pace to skip past them on occasion, this isn’t happening enough yet, not successfully anyway.
Greenwood can be entrusted with a more prominent role in the team as the season comes toward its conclusion.