Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole has asserted that academy graduate Mason Greenwood's finishing is so good that it's "a joke", but is hopeful that the club's current lack of striking options will not see too much pressure heaped on the young centre-forward.
Greenwood, still only 17, has hit the ground running this season, netting his first two senior goals in recent match-ups against Astana in the Europa League and Rochdale in the Carabao Cup, missing United's trip to West Ham in the Premier League only through a bout of tonsillitis.
And Cole, a five-time Premier League winner and one-time Champions League winner with the Red Devils, wants to see the youngster properly managed as his former club struggle with a current lack of options at the head of their attack.
“He's got a chance, he has got a chance,” Cole said on BBC Radio 5 Live when asked if Greenwood has the quality to succeed long-term at the Theatre of Dreams. “His finishing is a joke. Left or right foot, he's got quality in abundance.
“I just hope they don't – which Manchester United won't do anyway – that they don't put too much undue pressure on him. He's got great ability. They (Man Utd) are looking at it and saying 'We've got Mason, we're going to give Marcus [Rashford] the opportunity to play centre-forward.
“The disappointing thing is he's going to have to get thrown into the deep end a little bit earlier than they would have liked. [That's] due to injuries and due to them being prepared to allow [Romelu] Lukaku and [Alexis] Sanchez go.
“Ideally it would have been nice if they bought themselves another centre-forward.”
Speaking after United's narrow win over Rochdale, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expressed that Greenwood would indeed be properly managed, but added that he could well lead the line when the Red Devils welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford on Monday.
“He's proven when he's been on the pitch in the last two games he started that, when you get him in the box, he's dangerous,” added Solskjaer. “What's pleased me about him in the period that we're in is he doesn’t turn down chances to finish. He's not 18 yet but keeps trusting himself.
“He gets the chances so we're not worried about that at all. But we can't just throw him in the deep end all the time. He's proved in those games he's ready for it. Now, Premier League... I'll have the weekend to think about it.”