Lee Sharpe has compared Mason Greenwood to current Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, highlighting his composure in front of goal and ability to strike the ball cleanly.
Greenwood signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford in October 2018, after spending 11 years on the club’s books at youth level.
The 18-year-old has since managed to establish himself as a key member of Solskjaer’s squad, linking up with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to great effect in either a central role or from out on the right-wing.
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Greenwood has hit seven goals in 20 appearances across all competitions this season, with most of those coming as a substitute, but he is now pushing hard for a starting spot as United chase down a top-four Premier League finish.
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The England U21 international will be back in contention to feature when the Red Devils host Newcastle on Boxing Day, where they will be looking to bounce back from a shock 2-0 defeat at Watford on Sunday.
Sharpe, who starred for United between 1988 and 1996, has described Greenwood as a “phenomenal” talent and sees plenty of similarities between him and Solskjaer, who terrorised defences during his playing days at Old Trafford.
“He’s been phenomenal. Every top team in the world are craving a goal scorer. He just looks a natural at it,” Sharpe told Love Sport Radio.
“He’s very Solskjær-esque if you like. He’s very cool, he’s very calm. He doesn’t snatch at the ball when he’s in and around the box. When he gets half a yard he strikes through it and strikes it clean. He hits the target the majority of the time.”
When asked if he would like to see Greenwood granted a more prominent role at this early stage of his career, Sharpe responded: “He’s got unbelievable potential. At the moment I think it’s difficult to put him in with Rashford, who’s playing so well, and Martial playing so well.
“I suppose you could play him on the right and chop and change him and [Daniel] James at times. But I also understand that Ole doesn’t want to throw him into the deep end too often and wants to bleed him in rather than throw him in.
“It’s a tough one for Ole to leave him out but I can see why he’s doing that and trying to take his time with him. He’s got unbelievable ability.”
The Red Devils must get back to winning ways against Newcastle in order to stay within sight of fourth-place Chelsea, who are seven points ahead of them after 18 fixtures.
Solskjaer will then start preparing his players for a trip to Turf Moor to face Burnley on December 28, three days before United are due to open their 2020 schedule against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.