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Left Or Right? – A Mason Greenwood story.

Mason Greenwood
Picture Source: Twitter

When we talk about Manchester United prodigy Mason Greenwood, the first question that comes to mind is ‘Left or Right?’. Having burst onto the scene last season at a mere age of 17 years, Greenwood has taken football pundits and enthusiasts everywhere by complete surprise with his uncanny ability to dribble, pass, shoot and even take set pieces with both his feet.

Football has given us some great two-footed players over the years with Cristiano Ronaldo being a prime example of players with a lethal weak foot. However, there are very few players who couldn’t pick a stronger foot staring down the barrel of a gun. Mason Greenwood is one of those players.

Greenwood takes penalties with both feet and can even use either foot on corners and free kicks. This ability to use both feet so extensively gives the young forward an amazing edge against defenders because it becomes impossible to predict his next move or the direction of his dribble or even his preferred position to unleash a shot on goal.

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His signature move is one that can only be found in the most elite forwards. When one on one with a defender inside the box, Greenwood does not feel the need to beat his man. Instead, he uses the defender’s presence to his advantage. The backtracking defender provides a shield that denies the Goalkeeper a clear view of the ball. Using his quick feet he then creates half an inch of space and fires a fierce shot perfectly placed into either corner. The perfection of the shot coupled with the lack of clear vision makes it almost impossible for the keeper to do anything about it. The ball almost always finds the back of the net.

High praises and big comparisons

However, this is not the end of the youngster’s talents. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed Mason Greenwood as the most natural finisher in the team ahead of star forwards Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Greenwood has lived up to this praise. His ability to pick out the corners of the goal with precision and ease both from close range and from distance makes him one of the most dangerous upcoming “fox in the box” in world football with a resemblance to former legends such as Robin Van Persie and Thierry Henry.

While realistic comparisons to these legends are still a very long way down the road, Mason Greenwood has done himself no harm with the eye-catching performances he has put in repeatedly last season whenever the opportunity has presented itself. With 19 goals and 5 assists, Greenwood has become a teenage sensation in world football. His 10 Premier League goals last season were the most scored by a teenager in the premier league aged 19 or under since Michael Owen banged in 18 for Liverpool in the 1998/98 season.

Recently Greenwood was involved in a scandal that cost him his place in the England team. Having violated the strict Covid 19 guidelines by sneaking two women into his hotel room, Gareth Southgate had no choice but to drop Greenwood and his co-conspirator Phil Foden from the England squad. This was very irresponsible of the young prodigy and will hopefully be a wake-up call. As a professional footballer, it is absolutely essential to put your career ahead of everything else and give it everything you got. This mistake can be attributed to immaturity and should be taken as a learning experience.

If Greenwood wants to succeed as a professional footballer it is necessary that he stays out of the media for the wrong reasons and lets his feet do the talking. The teenager issued an official apology and hopefully, now he can put the unfortunate incident behind him and focus on his football.

The development of a young player is always a delicate task that must be handled with precision and care. Regulation of game time, management of expectations and above all the ability to stay grounded and focused play a crucial role in the career trajectory of a prodigy. Ole has done his best to man manage Greenwood to the best of his ability and so far has been largely successful at the task.

Greenwood is one to watch out for in the years to come and Manchester United and England fans hope he can follow in the footsteps of Marcus Rashford, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and countless other academy graduates who have become mainstays in great United and England national teams over the years. The perennial question with this youngster however will always remain…. Left or Right? and it’s one that’s always going to drive defenders crazy.

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