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Greenwood admits to 'difficult' days at Manchester United after facing criticism for the first time

15:58 BST 17/05/2021
Mason Greenwood Manchester United 2020-21
The 19-year-old forward has offered the perfect response to his detractors by playing his way back into form for the Red Devils

Mason Greenwood admits to having endured "difficult" days at Manchester United this season after facing criticism for the first time in his career.

Having been nurtured through the academy system at Old Trafford, the 19-year-old forward is now trying to unlock his full potential as a senior star.

Greenwood is learning quickly how to deal with detractors and avoid allowing them to become a distraction.

What has been said?

After seeing his attitude and output questioned amid a barren run in front of goal and being dropped from the England squad for breaches of Covid-19 protocols, Greenwood told Sky Sports: "It was difficult.

"You know how it is, it was obviously going to come. It was a mental challenge but you have to block it all out really. If you play for United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, you have to overcome that. I have pushed that to one side just to concentrate on my football. I have overcome it now. I am happy to be back playing my best football."

Where has Greenwood improved?

Greenwood earned senior international recognition after 17 goals across all competitions last season.

Bettering that tally has proved tricky this term, but he still has 12 efforts to his name - with an impact role from the bench - and believes he has improved other areas of his game.

The teenager added: "My hold-up play has improved. I don't think I give the ball away as much as I used to do when I was younger and just coming into the team. 

"I know the game a bit more and the pace of the Premier League a bit more. It has all come together."

The bigger picture

Greenwood has the full support of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his development, as shown by the offer of a new contract, and Europa League glory could yet be savoured.

Positive showings across remaining Premier League fixtures and the continental clash with Villarreal should aid Greenwood in looking to earn favour from Gareth Southgate once more.

Asked if he could force his way into England's 26-man party for this summer's European Championship, Greenwood said: "It would be nice to go to the Euros but I just want to be fully focused on United for these two games and the Europa League final.

"What happens, happens. I have not really been thinking about it too much. I have just been going out there thinking about my performances for United, how to score and help the team score. I have just been focusing on my football."

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