Xenia Sports – London
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants Mason Greenwood to learn from Edinson Cavani as he backed the teenager to develop into a world-class striker.
After a breakout campaign last season, Greenwood has run into hurdles lately – he was sent home from England duty for breaking Covid-19 protocols in September while last month Solskjaer was forced to deny reports that the 19-year-old had been warned about repeatedly turning up late for training.
But Solskjaer offered his backing to Greenwood, who has not appeared in the Premier League for the past four weeks but may hope to feature against Southampton on Sunday after coming on as a substitute in Tuesday’s 4-1 Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir.
“We try to help all of our players, if they’re young and old,” Solskjaer said. “The more experience you have, the greater chance you have to avoid a mistake here and there.
“I don’t have an issue with helping young players and help them become good footballers, and Mason is a really good footballer.”
Greenwood scored 17 goals in 49 appearances last season, making himself almost an automatic selection in the second half of the campaign.
Appearances have been harder to come by this term, particularly after the arrival of Cavani, but Solskjaer believes the 33-year-old, capped 118 times by Uruguay, is the ideal man for him to learn from.
“Mason can definitely develop into a top number nine,” he said. “He has one of the top number nines in world football from the last 10 years in Edinson to learn from.
“That goes for both Anthony (Martial) and Marcus (Rashford). Edinson’s come in and shown a different way of playing as a number nine that we haven’t had at the club for a while. So, they can learn from him, definitely.”
Cavani was one of five players to sign for United on deadline day in October as what had been a slow transfer window for the club finished with a flurry of activity.
But, after United latest financial figures showed a drop in income of almost 20 per cent during the pandemic, Solskjaer does not expect a busy window in January.
“It’s hard to predict how other teams (will act) and how the financial situation is,” he said. “If teams need to sell or if they’ve got money to buy. I don’t predict a lot of ins and outs, to be fair.
“The world, financially, and in football, has changed as well also. It depends how the injury situations are at different teams.
“I feel very happy with my squad at the moment. We’re getting stronger. I still have issues every week when we only get an 18-man squad to pick from. Who do you leave out? I feel I’m in a good position.”