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Greenwood is like Van Persie, but he must train better to earn more Man Utd starts - Solskjaer

9:45 pm AEDT 8/11/19
Mason Greenwood Manchester United 2019-20
The Red Devils boss has compared the teenager to a former Old Trafford striker but does not want to rush his development

Mason Greenwood's style of play reminds Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Robin van Persie, but the Manchester United boss stresses that the youngster still needs to "learn the man’s game".

Greenwood has enjoyed a breakthrough at Old Trafford at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, hitting three goals in 12 appearances across all competitions.

The 18-year-old has been asked to step up and support first-choice forwards Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, despite only just entering the second year of his first professional contract.

Greenwood's clever finish opened the scoring during United's 3-0 Europa League win over Partizan Belgrade at Old Trafford on Thursday, which booked their place in the knockout phase.

When asked by reporters post-match if he saw similarities between the teenager and Van Persie - who spearheaded United's drive to their last Premier League title in 2012-13 - Solskjaer beamed: "Definitely.

“He is very composed with his finishing. It is natural to him. Right foot, left foot – I don’t think he still knows which is the best one.

“That is very difficult for defenders to defend against. He’s doing his finishing practices in training. I can see it every day.

“Then the good thing is he can do it at Old Trafford in front of a full crowd. He doesn’t get fazed by the occasion. He’s still composed.

“Whether it’s a game with his mates in the park or a cup final he will still finish the same.”

Solskjaer does, however, still have reservations over Greenwood's work rate in training, revealing the forward has had plenty of "ups and downs" behind the scenes.

“He needs to learn the man’s game," the Norwegian head coach added. "He’s gone up from the Under-18s last year, now he’s training with the first team every day and you can’t just turn that switch on and off.

“You’ve got to perform every day if you are going to be accepted by a group like this.

“If he’d really stamped his authority in training every single day and been the best option he would have played every game, but as a young boy you expect ups and downs and he’s had some downs. But I think he is on his way up again.”

Despite impressing for United's senior squad in the opening weeks of the season, Greenwood was suddenly dropped back into the U21 squad last month for a Football League Trophy clash at Doncaster.

The youngster might have taken Solskjaer's decision as a blatant snub, but instead, he produced a stellar display and scored the winning goal as the Red Devils emerged with a 2-1 victory.

Solskjaer is confident Greenwood has a "bright future" at Old Trafford but insists it could still be a "couple of years" before he earns a regular spot in the starting XI.

“I’m managing for Man Utd, I’m not managing for me. I'm managing for the best way we can get the best out of Mason," said Solskjaer.

“He is going to have a very big career, but sometimes it is not the right time to play him. He knows why he hasn’t played as much. We’re taking our time with him. It’s been a difficult period.

“Anthony Martial has been away and to put all the weight on his shoulders wasn’t right. I think we are finding the right balance between playing him, resting him and training him.

“It’s always been in our philosophy and my philosophy to give young players with the right attitude a chance and if that takes a couple of years for him to really, really come through, it’s worth it for us.”