Alan Shearer believes Mason Greenwood deserves his first-team chance at Manchester United – but has warned the teenager over the pressures of Premier League stardom.
With Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford both struggling for fitness while midfielder Paul Pogba is carrying an ankle problem, United’s options are again stretched ahead of Monday night’s Premier League match against Arsenal .
Teenager Greenwood could be handed another chance to impress. After scoring in the Europa League win over Astana, the 17-year-old found the net in the Carabao Cup against Rochdale.
Shearer knows a thing or two about making an impact in the English top-flight, after marking his full debut with a stunning hat-trick for Southampton in their 4-2 victory over Arsenal back in 1988.
The Premier League icon, then 17, was immediately thrust into the spotlight and he has given Greenwood words of advice ahead of the youngster’s expected Premier League maiden start on Monday night.
Writing in his column for The Sun , Shearer said: “Greenwood was always going to get his chance somewhere along the season, but United have struggled so it’s not exactly like he is going into a great team.
“It’s a huge opportunity for him to stake a claim and I have no doubt he will relish it. I burst onto the scene at 17, scoring a hat-trick on my full debut for Southampton in 1988, ironically against Arsenal.
“All of a sudden you’re on the TV and the back pages of newspapers. I found it difficult after – I was no longer the kid who had scored goals in the reserves but a kid who had just scored a hat-trick on his debut against Arsenal.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken very highly of his finishing and the two he has scored have been decent goals. He will enjoy being talked about in such a complimentary way – it’s what you want. Only time will tell if he needs to be taken out of the team for a spell.”
Meanwhile, despite the lack of key personnel through injury impacting on consistent results, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels overall there is a positive outlook ahead.
“In my own words? For me, it’s a team improving, evolving. I think it’s a young team, the culture is there,” the former United striker said.
“I see them every single day in training and we don’t have any issues with attitude, work rate or desire. Now it’s (a question of) can we trust ourselves? Can we find that composure?
“You could see against Astana and Rochdale, the boys want to impress, they want to do well and maybe they rushed a finish at times. It’s getting there.”