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Pick Greenwood, Gareth! Man Utd's on-fire forward can be England's Euros wildcard

20:56 BST 11/05/2021
Mason Greenwood Gareth Southgate Manchester United England GFX
The teenager made it five goals in his past five Premier League games with an exquisite strike in his club's 2-1 loss at home to Leicester on Tuesday

Manchester United 1-2 Leicester City: Match Statistics

It seems hard to believe now but, just over a month ago, Mason Greenwood's form was a cause for concern among some Manchester United fans.

Go back to the start of April and the forward had just one Premier League goal to his name.

However, an exquisite finish in Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat at home to Leicester means Greenwood has now netted five times in his past five outings.

It's been a remarkable turnaround for the Bradford native, whose current run of eight goals in 11 appearances in all competitions has seen him become the highest-scoring teenager in United's long and illustrious history.

Greenwood's hot streak has also given him a very real chance of an England recall.

Remember, after making his international debut in Iceland last September, Greenwood was then thrown out of Gareth Southgate's squad after having been found to have breached the country's quarantine protocols. 

He was subsequently demoted to the Under-21s but just two weeks before Southgate names his squad for this summer's European Championship, surely Greenwood has propelled himself back into contention.

Greenwood's finishing has never been in doubt. He is considered the most natural finisher at United. Left foot, right foot – it doesn’t matter to the 19-year-old, who has also been working hard in recent weeks and months on improving his heading ability.

As a former former himself, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has long been a fan of Greenwood's, so it was no surprise to see him singing the youngster's praises after the Leicester game.

"I thought Mason was absolutely fantastic," the Norwegian told BBC Sport. "I know what he can do finishing-wise. But I was impressed with all the other things tonight: his robustness, resilience and the way he led the line. He thought he needed to take responsibility and he did that throughout."

Solskjaer, though, also deserves credit for the way in which he helped Greenwood through personal issues earlier in the season by taking him out of the firing line and publicly telling everyone he had "a knock".

Greenwood has since recovered remarkably well from his early-season setback with England and is maturing in his decision-making, on and off the field.

Indeed, his work-rate and all-round game have improved significantly. Even when he wasn't scoring at the turn of the year, his displays were being warmly received by his manager.

However, both Greenwood and Solskjaer will be absolutely delighted that the goals are flowing again.

Tuesday's strike ultimately proved purely academic, as a United side featuring 10 changes from the one which triumphed at Aston Villa on Sunday suffered a defeat that meant Manchester City were crowned champions.

However, his goal represented another timely reminder of his enormous talent and potential. 

His neat footwork saw him get past four Leicester players in the box before beating Kasper Schmeichel with a clinical far-post finish.

Greenwood has been learning plenty from veteran striker Edinson Cavani but his innate footballing skills so often shine through in his goals.

And it is that natural talent which could see him force his way into Southgate's thinking, particularly now that the England manager can call upon 26 players for the Euros. 

Greenwood is unlikely to be a starter but his rare mix of power, finesse and lethal finishing could have a devastating impact off the bench.

“Gareth knows Mason can turn a game around in a split-second,” Solskjaer said. “He’s working, learning on the job, getting more robust and he’s played more than 100 games for us and is our top goalscorer as a teenager. He’s been incredible.

“He’ll have a long, long future with England and I’m sure Gareth will think long and hard about which 26 he’s going to pick."

On this form, though, Greenwood would be an excellent choice.