Mason Greenwood’s absence from the Manchester United squad on Saturday and this week’s England squad is not simply due to illness.
The 19-year-old burst onto the scene in spectacular fashion last season, scoring 19 goals in his first full term in the senior side.
However, an incident whilst on England duty in Iceland in September in which he breached COVID protocol rules led to his being dropped from Southgate’s squad for two matches and he has also subsequently missed a number of games for United.
And The Athletic’s David Ornstein claims that Greenwood’s lifestyle and training work rate is the real reason for his limited game time.
‘Mason Greenwood’s omission from the latest England squad came after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his feelings clear to Gareth Southgate in a phone call between the two managers,’ Ornstein said.
‘Solskjaer said Greenwood missed United’s victory at Everton on Saturday after reporting ill and The Athletic understands the forward had also put in a lethargic display in training on Friday.
‘United only returned from Turkey at 4am on Thursday but sources say that, even with such mitigations, Greenwood’s work rate at Carrington put his place in the starting XI at risk.
‘It was an episode that raised renewed questions within United about Greenwood’s activities outside of the club.
‘There are doubts over whether he is getting enough sleep, as a consequence placing his immune system in jeopardy and undermining his concentration levels.
‘Social bubbles are kept to team-mates and family.
‘Greenwood has already shown loose regard for these rules, however, when he and Phil Foden invited girls back to England’s team hotel in Iceland in September.
‘Foden has been recalled … after expressing remorse but sources say Greenwood’s response to the incident has not been quite as impressive.
‘Greenwood has the potential to become a world-class player and United’s coaches are trying to explain the sacrifices that are required.
‘[They explain that Cristiano] Ronaldo rested away from training and showed total commitment in each session during the week before matches. Sources say Greenwood is failing to understand this process at present.
The Athletic’s report is particularly worrying given that United failed to sign a senior right winger this summer, leaving Greenwood as by far the best option in that position. If the problems persist and he is missing from more matches, the side will certainly struggle to be at their best this season.
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