EPL

'Greenwood's better than I was', but Solskjaer won't be drawn on Bellingham

By Sports Desk July 03, 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits Mason Greenwood has more talent as a teenager than the Manchester United manager possessed as he lauded the 13-goal forward.

Greenwood has enjoyed a breakout season at Old Trafford and provided both a goal and an assist in the midweek win at Brighton and Hove Albion.

The England youth international has often played out wide, but Solskjaer on Friday discussed the possibility of the 18-year-old soon moving into a central striking role he occupied in the academy.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with Bournemouth, the manager says Greenwood has made much more progress than he had the same stage of his career.

"We have done well over the course of the season, giving him more and more exposure, more and more game time," Solskjaer said of Greenwood.

"It's not easy being a young boy. He could still play in this season's FA Youth Cup team, so he's a young boy we have to look after.

"But he's performing off the bench or when he starts and he's developed fantastically this season. The sky's the limit - it's up to him.

"He knows what he should do, can do and must do to continue playing, but that's between us.

"He's a centre-forward by trade, but he likes to drift wide, he likes to face forwards, and that's a different role from being the forward up through the middle.

"You see some centre-forwards who have their back to goal, get hold of the ball, link it, which Mason is improving on. His body is filling out and he can play that position.

"I think we can see maybe like we have done with Marcus [Rashford] and Anthony [Martial] as well: they are good centre-forwards, very good footballers, good goalscorers and with good movement. They're not stuck between the posts.

"Mason's way ahead of where I was when I was 18 or 19, that's for sure. He's got a knack of scoring goals - it's difficult to say anything different because it's natural for him. It was what I felt I could do as well.

"He's a brilliant boy to work with. If he keeps on learning, keeps on making better and better decisions, he'll be good."

There had been reports United were looking to boost their squad with another teenager, Birmingham City's 17-year-old Jude Bellingham.

But the midfielder now appears set instead for Borussia Dortmund, although Solskjaer brushed off a question on the youngster.

"I think there's been loads of speculation linking us to every single talented player from the age of 15 to 25 really, so I can't comment on every single player that's been linked with us," he said. "So, no, I can't really comment."

Related items

  • Havertz can be 'world class' if given time at Chelsea - Rolfes Havertz can be 'world class' if given time at Chelsea - Rolfes

    Kai Havertz has all the qualities to be "world class" but was always likely to need time to settle in at Chelsea, according to Bayer Leverkusen's sporting director Simon Rolfes.  

    The Blues spent a reported £72million (€80m) to bring the Germany international from Leverkusen in September, yet he has so far struggled to justify the hefty price tag.  

    The attacking midfielder was one of several big-money signings during a busy close-reason recruitment drive, with compatriot Timo Werner - who arrived from RB Leipzig - also enduring a difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge. 

    Havertz has managed five goals and five assists, as well as 23 chances created (1.4 per 90 minutes) and five big chances created (0.3 per 90) in 25 appearances so far in 2020-21.  

    For comparison, during his final season at Leverkusen, he registered 18 goals (0.43 per 90), nine assists (0.21 per 90), 84 chances created (1.99 per 90), 20 big chances created (0.47 per 90) from 45 appearances.  

    Chelsea's struggles on the pitch this term saw club legend Frank Lampard sacked and replaced by Thomas Tuchel, and Rolfes feels it is unfair to focus purely on Havertz, who he is backing to show his true abilities in the Premier League.

    "It's always difficult if you change country and a little bit of a different style. That's the same if we sign players," Rolfes told Stats Perform News. 

    "Some players need two days, some guys need half a year. For example, Moussa Diaby needs three-four months to adapt from France, although he was playing for PSG, to adapt to the Bundesliga.  

    "You have to have in mind when you sign players, that not everybody is directly from the first day there.  

    "I've followed Chelsea a little bit from a distance, but it's not only Kai or Timo Werner struggling a little bit, it's also the team – they expected more from the whole squad.  

    "That's not so easy if it's not working in the team and you come in as a new player. It's much easier if the team is working and you step in your best position.  

    "That's a process for Kai, to adapt to England and the Premier League. There is no doubt Kai is a fantastic player and has all the ability to play on the world-class level and although it's probably not his best six months, there is no doubt in my opinion."

  • Maguire tells Man Utd to 'stand up and be counted' after shock loss Maguire tells Man Utd to 'stand up and be counted' after shock loss

    Harry Maguire believes it is time for Manchester United to "stand up and be counted" after the team were left "devastated" by Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to rock-bottom Sheffield United. 

    The Red Devils were aiming to go back top of the Premier League table but succumbed to a shock loss at Old Trafford, Oli Burke's fortuitous winner sealing the points after Maguire's goal against his former club had initially cancelled out Kean Bryan's first-half opener. 

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men had gone unbeaten in their previous 13 matches but were well off the pace against the Blades. 

    Captain Maguire urged the squad to rebound quickly for Saturday's trip to Arsenal, who coincidentally were the last side before Chris Wilder's team to defeat them in the league. 

    "When you do get a defeat, there's nothing worse than waiting to get back out on the pitch to play and put things right," Maguire told United's club media. 

    "The boys are devastated, if I'm honest. It's a really quiet dressing room. The boys are so disappointed; we didn't expect it, we came into the game confident. 

    "We've got to pick ourselves up. We are disappointed and it hurts, but Saturday is a big game and we've got to bounce back. 

    "It's all good and easy when you're winning football matches and you're playing well, but now it's time to stand up and be counted. 

    "When you get kicked down it's how quickly you bounce back and Saturday's a big one and we've got to get three points."

    Maguire rued the defensive lapses that he felt proved so costly. 

    "Not good enough," he added. "We didn't perform to a level we've been playing at. We didn't play at an intensity that we've played at. We haven't created enough to win the game. 

    "We didn't see it coming; we prepared well and were fully confident. We fell behind to a soft goal, but we felt that we could come back, like we've done numerous times this year, and come back and win the game. 

    "We got ourselves back into the game and we felt like the next goal would be crucial, and we managed to get that, and we just didn't kick on; we didn't find that spark. Then from that position, we can't lose the game. You've thrown away a point. 

    "It's probably the first time they've been in our box in the second half and they managed to score, so we've got to look at it and got to improve. For sure, he [Burke] can't be taking a touch and controlling it and having a shot in our box with no-one around him. It's not good enough." 

    There was contention in the first half, with United claiming Billy Sharp had fouled David De Gea in the process of the Blades taking the lead, while referee Peter Bankes ruled out a goal for the home team with Maguire judged to have impeded visiting keeper Aaron Ramsdale when Anthony Martial swept home. 

    "It's incredible. There's no doubt that Billy Sharp's is more of a foul than what I did at the other end," Maguire said of the two incidents. 

    "Maybe people will say both aren't fouls, but definitely not David's is and that one isn't. I jumped for the ball. I don't think I actually touched the keeper.  

    "I think he just touches me in the back; my arms are nowhere near him. I think the referee will look back and know he's made a mistake."

  • Rumour Has It: Real Madrid wait for Mbappe signal as PSG star asks for time to decide future Rumour Has It: Real Madrid wait for Mbappe signal as PSG star asks for time to decide future

    Kylian Mbappe wants time to make a decision on his future as Real Madrid await a signal from the Paris Saint-Germain star.

    Mbappe, 22, has been linked with a move to Madrid and his contract at PSG ends in 2022.

    But will the forward end up at the Santiago Bernabeu?

     

    TOP STORY – REAL MADRID WAIT FOR MBAPPE

    Real Madrid are waiting for a signal from Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to Marca.

    The report says Mbappe has asked for time to decide his future.

    While Madrid have been most strongly linked with a move for Mbappe, Liverpool are also reportedly interested.

    ROUND-UP

    - Staying at Madrid and Fabrizio Romano says a new contract for midfielder Luka Modric is imminent. The Croatian midfielder's current deal expires at the end of the season.

    - Dele Alli's future is set to be a constant talking point until at least the end of this transfer window. ESPN claims Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is reluctant to let the midfielder leave for PSG. Romano reports Spurs are still looking for a replacement and were working on re-signing Christian Eriksen, but Inter wanted a loan fee and the midfielder's salary paid in full.

    - Lyon star Houssem Aouar was linked to Arsenal last close season, but the midfielder could head elsewhere. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Juventus are looking at the 22-year-old as an option ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

    - Lucas Torreira seems set to move on from Atletico Madrid. Diario AS says Monaco are favourites to sign the midfielder, who is on loan at Atletico from Arsenal.

    - Said Benrahma has made an impression at West Ham. Sky Sports reports West Ham have converted their loan for Benrahma from Brentford into a permanent move, paying £20million plus add-ons. The report says West Ham are also in talks to sign RB Leipzig forward Hwang Hee-chan.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.