EPL

Solskjaer salutes Greenwood for taking responsibility alongside Man Utd youngsters

By Sports Desk May 12, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer applauded Mason Greenwood for playing with responsibility alongside some of Manchester United's younger players against Leicester City and wants him to retain that authority when teaming up with first-team regulars.

United lost 2-1 at home to Leicester on Tuesday, a defeat that confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions for the third time in four years.

The result did not come as a huge surprise, however, given Solskjaer had made 10 changes to his starting XI from the 3-1 win over Aston Villa just two days earlier – Greenwood the only player to keep his place.

The England international got United's goal, a tidy finish into the bottom-left corner after skipping past Caglar Soyuncu to cancel out Luke Thomas' spectacular opener.

Alongside him in the United attack were 18-year-old Amad Diallo, making his Premier League debut, and Anthony Elanga, who was playing his first ever game for the senior side – Greenwood, although only six months older than the latter, was making his 102nd appearance.

Solskjaer felt Greenwood – occupying the central striker position – played with greater authority and responsibility as a result and he wants the 19-year-old to take that into their next game against Liverpool on Thursday, when the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba can expect to be back in the team.

"You saw some definite leadership, the way he had to take responsibility," Solskjaer said.

"He's got Amad and Anthony next to him, looks at them and thinks, 'I've got 100 games here so I need to help them', which is great.

"He did really well, considering his age he's got 100 games and has got loads of experience.

"The way he took responsibility, I was really pleased with it. That's maybe not as easy when you've got Bruno, Paul, Marcus and Edinson [Cavani] next to you, which is natural.

"I still want him to take that responsibility when he plays. No matter how old you are, if you believe in yourself, trust in yourself, and think it's the right decision, you make that decision.

"He did that [against Leicester] and I still want him to do that on Thursday, when he plays with the more experienced ones."

It has been a testing season for Greenwood, who struggled early on to replicate the remarkable form he had shown in 2019-20.

The teenager had to cope with the death of a close friend and was then involved in controversy on England duty, finding himself sent home after making his debut and then being excluded from the next selection.

Greenwood also appeared to become something of a target for certain sections of the British media, and his form suffered considerably, only managing three goals across all competitions between the start of the season in September and the end of 2020.

His struggles continued into 2021 and the forward went on a run of 15 appearances without a single goal from late January, but he ended that barren spell against Leicester City on March 21 and has since netted eight times in 11 matches.

No Premier League player has scored more goals on all fronts over the same period, with Greenwood once again showing the kind of killer-instinct in front of goal that made him so feared in 2019-20, when he scored 17 goals.

Ten of those came in the league from an expected goals (xG) value of just 2.9, meaning he scored 7.1 goals more than expected. No player in the division could match that xG overperformance.

This would generally indicate elite-level finishing or a player getting lucky. Greenwood's form earlier this season suggested it was the latter, but since March 21 his xG overperformance across all competitions is 5.0 – almost double the next-most efficient player in that time, Kelechi Iheanacho (xG overperformance of 2.9).

After a shaky period, Greenwood is seemingly back on track and showing the finishing talents that made people sit up and take note last season.

While Solskjaer wants him to keep playing with authority for United, on current form many would even be backing him to take extra "responsibility" with England at Euro 2020.

Related items

  • Napoli complete deals for Zambo Anguissa and Olivera Napoli complete deals for Zambo Anguissa and Olivera

    Napoli announced two signings on Thursday, confirming midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa from Fulham on a permanent deal and the arrival of Mathias Olivera from Getafe.

    The Cameroon international spent this season on loan at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, and Napoli have taken up the option to make the move permanent for an undisclosed fee.

    Zambo Anguissa joined Fulham from Marseille in 2018, making 66 appearances in all for the Cottagers.

    He made 25 appearances for Luciano Spalletti's side in Serie A this season, recording two assists.

    The Italian club also confirmed the signing of Olivera from Getafe, with the Uruguayan left-back having made 119 appearances during five seasons in Spain.

  • French Open: Swiatek not keeping track of outstanding 30-match winning run French Open: Swiatek not keeping track of outstanding 30-match winning run

    Only the understandable media attention is allowing Iga Swiatek to keep count of her incredible winning run that reached 30 matches on Thursday.

    The world number one sealed her place in the third round of the French Open after a dominant 6-0 6-2 win against Alison Riske.

    That victory made her just the fourth WTA Tour player this century to win 30 or more consecutive matches. She has also taken 46 of the past 47 sets she has played.

    Speaking at a news conference following her milestone win, Swiatek insisted she does not follow the numbers – although she has no need to while her streak remains the focus of journalists.

    "I know how many matches I have won in a row because you keep reminding me, basically," she said. "But I don't keep track.

    "I'm not like noting or something. I just try to come back to these matches to get experience from them. But that's the only reason why I come back to them."

    Swiatek was asked to explain what had inspired her imperious form, with her 39 match victories in 2022 already three more than she managed in the whole of 2021.

    "I think basically I changed some things, like I started being more aggressive and trying to be more proactive on court," she replied. "That's something that my coach really helped me to do.

    "But also, I think all the work we have been doing, even last season, it finally clicked somehow.

    "You know, last season it was a year for me where I really gained so much experience. This year I feel like I'm using it the right way. I have this experience already, and I can just move forward.

    "So I think it's the physical work I have been doing but also with my psychologist, I think it's the work of the whole team as well. I'm pretty glad that it clicks right now."

    The 20-year-old conceded her form will not last forever, but she is determined to enjoy it while it lasts.

    "I was saying from the beginning that for sure I'm going to reach a point where I'm going to lose a match, and it's pretty normal, you know," Swiatek said. "I have been losing matches in tennis for a long time.

    "For sure, the things we are doing right now are pretty extraordinary, but I know in tennis that only one person wins at the end. I will be okay with that.

    "For sure, it's not fun to lose, but I think it wouldn't be different than any other loss that I had in my career."

  • Leeds strike deal for Salzburg's USMNT star Brenden Aaronson as Marsch brings in familiar face Leeds strike deal for Salzburg's USMNT star Brenden Aaronson as Marsch brings in familiar face

    Leeds United have agreed a deal to sign Salzburg's Brenden Aaronson after Jesse Marsch swooped on his former club for the United States midfielder.

    Reports have indicated Aaronson will cost Leeds in the region of £24.7million (€29m) when the transfer officially goes through on July 1.

    He has committed to a five-year contract and will strengthen the Leeds midfield after the Premier League side avoided relegation on the final day of the season thanks to a win at Brentford.

    Former Philadelphia Union player Aaronson, 21, has earned 18 caps for the USA and scored five goals for his country.

    He joined Salzburg in January 2021, fresh from being named in the MLS Best XI for the previous season, and had a key role as head coach Marsch's team wrapped up a Bundesliga and cup double.

    While Marsch moved on to RB Leipzig at the end of that season and later arrived at Leeds, Aaronson stayed on in Salzburg and helped Matthias Jaissle's side reach the last-16 stage of the Champions League.

    Salzburg also landed another domestic double, and Aaronson believes the time has come to move on to bigger things.

    He told Salzburg's website: "I can barely believe that it was only a year and a half I spent playing for FC Red Bull Salzburg.

    "This big step from my homeland in the US to Europe was made an extremely easy one by everyone at the club, from the players, coaches and all the staff, and I had a fantastic time here. To come to Salzburg was totally the best decision I could have made!

    "After our strong performance in the Champions League and winning the double, it's the perfect time for me now to move to a new and really big league."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.