Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed teenager Mason Greenwood will make just his second senior start for the club in the Europa League on Thursday.
The 17-year-old made his first-team debut towards the end of last season and was handed a start in Man Utd’s 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City on the final day of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
Manchester United team news vs Astana: Five things to know…
- Manchester United kick off their Europa League campaign at home to Astana on Thursday evening.
- The Red Devils look set to rotate their squad to maintain freshness.
- Solskjaer has confirmed 17-year-old Greenwood will start, as well Sergio Romero and Axel Tuanzebe
- Fred is expected to feature from the off too.
- Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot are also available for selection but Daniel James, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial miss out.
Following the summer departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, Greenwood has found himself with a permanent place in United’s first-team squad and has made four Premier League appearances so far – albeit amassing just 47 minutes.
United kick off their Europa League campaign at home to Astana on Thursday, with Solskjaer set to ring the changes to keep his squad fresh. And the Norwegian has revealed Greenwood, Axel Tuanzebe and Sergio Romero will all start at Old Trafford.
“David [de Gea] signed his contract and now we’ve got him maybe I should keep on playing him,” Solskjaer said. “Sergio will play tomorrow, for sure.
“He’s proven to be a top, top keeper behind David and to keep him ready if something happens to David, tomorrow is a chance for me to give him some much needed game-time, because David’s been very robust and [Romero]’s always been reliable.
“One [starter] sits here (Tuanzebe), he’s going to start. Because I have a big squad, we had pre-season, which went really well, everyone was fighting for places, then the closer we got to the league, we had to maker a decision on the starting XI.
“Unfortunately for Axel, he just didn’t just make the starting XI and we’re playing well. Now’s a chance for some to get some minutes and we’ll have a game every three or four days now, so we’ll get to use the squad more and there’ll be some young ones.
“Greenwood will play definitely, it’ll be his first start since Cardiff last season, and he needs game time.”
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Greenwood one of the best strikers Solskjaer has seen
As well as announcing Greenwood would be starting against Astana, Solskjaer hailed the young striker for his finishing, dubbing him as one of the best he’s seen.
“He’s still very young but he’s maturing and he’s developed so much since I came in,” he added.
“His appetite for football is growing. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him apart from go out there, enjoy yourself and work hard.
“When you’ve got strikers who can score goals, you should never lose the hunger of scoring goals. Never lose the appetite of creating chances and be ready to take yours.
“Mason is one of the best finishers I’ve seen and I’ve played with quite a few decent ones.”