Mason Greenwood is on track to become Manchester United’s most prolific teenage goalscorer of all time.
After one full season at senior level, the 19-year-old stands on 18 goals, which puts him eighth on the historic list, with 11 months and 14 days left before he turns 20.
If he continues his current scoring rate, he will get 16 more this season and five at the start of 2021/22, which will put him on 39 goals – level with the record-holder, Norman Whiteside, who achieved the feat between 1982 and 1985.
Of course, there will be those that argue Whiteside had more time to achieve his tally, as he made his debut two weeks before his 17th birthday in a 1-0 victory against Brighton on 24 April 1982. Greenwood did make a three-minute debut against PSG in March 2019 aged just 17 years and 156 days but to all intents and purposes, his senior career started in 2019/20, aged 17 years and 10 months, so almost a year later than Whiteside’s in terms of deveopment.
Before he reaches Whiteside’s score, Greenwood has some famous names to overtake. Three more goals will take him level with Brian Kidd, Ryan Giggs and Alex Dawson on 21; then comes Wayne Rooney on 22 and Marcus Rashford on 26. There is then a big gap before the 37 goals that George Best scored between 1963 and 1966.
United’s failure to sign Jadon Sancho this summer could prove to be a huge help to Greenwood in achieving his goal. He is more likely to start more games and a season haul of 20 or more is well within his capabilities. A 23-goal season would see him overtake Whiteside with months to spare.
Source: The Times
Greenwood’s clinical efficiency has not gone unnoticed. He was this week shortlisted for the 2020 Golden Boy award – given by sports journalists to a footballer aged under 21 playing in Europe perceived to have been the most impressive during a calendar year.
United’s previous winners of the award include Wayne Rooney in 2004 and Anthony Martial in 2015. Paul Pogba also won the award when playing for Juventus. Greenwood is up against stiff opposition this time out, with the likes of the Borussia Dortmund pair of Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland to beat.
The Bradford-born star has made that shortlist after just 57 appearances, including a meagre 29 starts for United, only 10 of which were in his natural role of centre-forward.
There are no guarantees in football and many teenage world-beaters never fulfil their potential or last the course. Whiteside himself had serious injury issues by the time he was just 21 and sadly had to retire from the game at a mere 26 years of age. But you can’t help but feel that the sky is the limit in terms of what Greenwood can achieve in the game if he avoids such injury problems and keeps his feet on the ground.
This summer’s transfer window was at times frustrating and disappointing. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.