‘Greenwood can emulate Ballon d’Or winner Owen’ – Neville tipping ‘special’ Man Utd forward for the top
Mason Greenwood is capable of following in the footsteps of some notable teenage sensations, says Phil Neville, with there every reason to believe that the Manchester United forward could emulate the achievements of Ballon d’Or winner Michael Owen.
At 18 years of age he was already an established Premier League star and the talk of the 1998 World Cup after scoring a stunning solo effort against Argentina.
Greenwood is the same age as Owen was at that point, with the highly-rated youngster having made giant strides since stepping out of the academy system.
He has recorded an impressive haul of 16 goals this season, with nine of those coming in the Premier League.
Owen managed 18 top-flight efforts in 1997-98, but Neville believes Greenwood is capable of matching the ex-Liverpool frontman and other precocious talents such as Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney.
“You look at his impact as a young player and you think about some great careers – Michael Owen was a Ballon d’Or winner,” former United defender Neville told Premier League Productions.
“You’ve got to keep your feet on the ground and you’ve got to protect the lad and there is a long way to go, but ultimately the quality of his development and the rate of his development is up there with some of the great young players that we’ve seen.
“You think about the front three for United, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba - that lad can be absolutely anything he wants to be.”
Neville added on an ambidextrous frontman: “The impressive thing about him is that he is so gifted with both feet – left foot, right foot.
“I have seen him take penalties with left foot, penalties with his right foot. That is something special. He’s a special, special player.
“Before lockdown he was as thin as a rake, he’s become a man and that strength, that power, that balance is going to take him a long way.”
For now, Greenwood is being asked to fill a wide attacking role by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with United tending to use him on the right of a trident that also includes Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Neville, though, believes it is only a matter of time before a clinical finisher is moved inside to a central berth.
He said: “With Marcus, he’ll always play but where he’ll play depends on where there is a position in the team – he has the ability to play in all positions and I think he enjoys being a little bit freer.
“I think Mason will eventually become an out-and-out number nine. Marcus has got the ability to play left, right, centre, number 10 as well.
Source : goal.com
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