Manchester United’s academy is one of the best in the world, from producing the famous “class of 92″— which included the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Phil, and Gary Neville, Wes Brown, John O’shea, Darren Fletcher, Danny Welbeck. And in recent years, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford.
The club might be going through a turbulent time at the moment, but some youngsters from the club’s academy are giving fans a ray of optimism, chief among the youngsters is 18-year-old striker Mason Greenwood.
In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG brings you a brief history of the teenage striker.
Mason Will John Greenwood was born on the 1st of October 2001 in Bradford, England.
He was discovered by Manchester United’s scouts, who went to watch a different player but found a young Mason kicking the ball around on the side of the pitch and were quickly impressed by his footwork.
Still less than 6 years of age, he was too young to join a team, but the scouts kept a close eye on his development. When he became 6, they were on hand to witness his first game for his local team who had never scored a goal let alone winning a match, but on his debut, the team won 16—1 with Greenwood scoring all his side’s 16 goals and his name made the local newspaper at just six years of age!
United recruited him to their Halifax youth center. The club youth system operates in a way that youngsters progress from the Halifax center to the Huddersfield center and then finally to the Salford center (popularly known as the Cliff). It normally takes months or even years for youngsters to progress through these ranks, but Mason was special, his progress was rapid, and he quickly found himself playing in age groups above his own. He started drawing the attention of numerous clubs, and United did everything to protect their jewel.
He was promoted to the U-18 side ahead of the 2017/18 season despite being eligible for the U-16s but justified his inclusion in the side by emerging as top scorer in the U-18 Premier league North by scoring 17 goals in 21 games.
After averaging a goal per game for the U-18 and the U-23 sides, he was invited by the then manager Jose Mourinho, to travel with the first team for their pre-season tour of the United States. Greenwood signed his first professional contract with the club on the 2nd of October 2018—a day after his 17th birthday.
He was handed his professional debut by Mourinho’s replacement Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in United’s famous comeback victory over PSG in the UEFA Champions league on the 16th of March 2019 becoming the club’s 2nd youngest player to appear in an European match and the youngest ever in the Champions league era at 17 years and 156 days. Four days later, he made his Premier league debut against Arsenal and made his first senior start against Cardiff City on the final day of the season.
He won the club’s young player of the season award.
Ahead of the 2019/20 season, he scored 3 goals on the club’s pre-season tour. The departure of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, coupled with the confidence of Solskjaer in youngsters, meant the likes of Greenwood would be Integral members of the squad. He made his first appearance of the season coming in as a substitute in United’s 4-1 victory over Chelsea.
He scored his first senior goal for the club against Astana in the 2019/20 Europa League and became United’s youngest ever scorer in European competition at 17 years, 353 days. He scored his 2nd goal in a Carabao cup clash against Rochdale.
He has been invited to England U-21 side and made his debut against Turkey on the 6th of September 2019.
On his day, Greenwood can be a handful for any defence as he is two-footed, very quick off the mark, versatile, and clinical. United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, described him as a more natural finisher than both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
But despite all these, Greenwood remains humble, and he is willing to work hard and learn more, this is evident in the fact that he is often one of the first players to arrive at United’s Carrington training complex and has been staying behind after training to take part in extra sessions.
Mark Senior, a former coach at United’s development center, believes “the sky is the limit for Mason Greenwood.”