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‘Greenwood has world-class potential as a No.9’ – Fletcher sees Man Utd forward moving down the middle

13:36 BST 24/09/2020
Mason Greenwood Manchester United 2020
The former Red Devils midfielder believes an exciting youngster currently being used in a wide attacking role will evolve into a central striker

Mason Greenwood boasts “world-class potential” and will ultimately become a “defender’s nightmare” in a central striking post for Manchester United, claims Darren Fletcher.

At 18 years of age, a highly-rated product of the Red Devils’ famed academy system is still finding his feet on a senior stage.

He has fared admirably under the spotlight to this point, with 17 goals recorded across all competitions in 2019-20.

A productive partnership has been struck up with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, with the latter currently filling a No.9 role.

Plenty have suggested that Greenwood will be moved inside at some stage, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer asking him to operate out wide at present.

Fletcher believes a talented teenager is destined to make that switch, with his ability on either foot and keen eye for goal marking him out as a deadly frontman of the future.

The former United midfielder told Sky Sports after seeing Greenwood open his goal account for 2020-21 in a Carabao Cup win over Luton: “I think he’s a starter in United’s best team.

“Mason plays off the right-hand side, Anthony Martial in the middle and Marcus Rashford on the left, with Bruno [Fernandes] at No.10.

“That’s the best attack and the one that put people on the edge of their seats after lockdown and produced United’s best form.

“I’m sure Mason’s evolution is to be a No.9. He’s got world-class potential.

“The fact he can go both ways – not many strikers can go naturally onto their left foot and naturally onto their right foot and finish it. He’s a defender’s nightmare.”

Solskjaer, who once operated as a leading striker for United, has admitted that he sees Greenwood taking on central duties at some stage.

He has, however, been quick to point out that the youngster still has areas of his game to work on before such a tactical tweak can be made.

The Red Devils boss has said: “He can play through the middle as well. I think, as a young boy, not physically grown yet, it is nice to be facing forward rather than being the No.9, the foil; being the battering ram if you like.

“So I think he’ll end up as a No.9 in the end, probably. But he’s so good with his right and left, so he can come in off his right and left, or through the middle. I scored most of my goals from just outside the post as well, I wasn’t in the middle."

Solskjaer added: “For him to be a No.9, he needs to learn how to head the ball.

“I keep telling him that and, if he wants to do that, he’s welcome to come and practice with me.”