Football News

Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood makes ‘surprise’ choice for toughest opponent he’s faced

By Ben Green

Published: 11:00, 22 July 2021

Manchester United wonderkid Mason Greenwood has named the toughest opponent he has faced in his short career so far — and the choice may surprise you.

Greenwood, 19, has done battle with the likes of Liverpool’s new centre-back Ibrahima Konate during a Champions League match against RB Leipzig, Leonardo Spinazzola of Roma in the Europa League, as well as the likes of Andrew Robertson, Ben Chilwell and Lucas Digne in the Premier League.

However, the teenage England international has selected Joe Bryan of, in Greenwood’s words “you know, the one for Fulham”, as his hardest challenge. The recently-relegated left-back faced the Man Utd inside forward twice last season, notably scoring in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the penultimate game.

The 27-year-old Bristolian was actually the man to secure promotion for Fulham in 2019/20, netting a brace in extra-time of the play-off final against Brentford to win the Wembley showpiece for Scott Parker’s men, including a 40-yard free-kick to outfox David Raya.

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With Greenwood gearing himself up for a new season in the Premier League, he will be relieved that Bryan is no longer in the division, as he has branded the attacking full-back his “toughest challenge”.

Greenwood told Man Utd’s official website: “That’s a good question. I’ve probably got to say, it might be a surprising one, but do you know [Joe] Bryan, the one for Fulham?

“He allowed me no space, no time on the ball, when we played them home and away. It was one of my most difficult games for us.

“He’s one you probably wouldn’t think I’d say his name, but he was getting tight to me and not giving me much space. He was a good defender and he was probably my toughest challenge.”

Greenwood vs Bryan

The duo first locked horns at Craven Cottage in mid-January, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side just edging a cagey affair, in which Fulham went 1-0 up thanks to Ademola Lookman, before goals from Edinson Cavani and a wonderstrike from Paul Pogba secured the three points.

In that match, Greenwood, who started as an inside forward on the right flank, failed to create a single chance and registered just one shot, while Bryan won possession in the defensive third six times, the most of any player on either side.

In the reverse fixture, with Fulham’s relegation fate already decided, Bryan actually got on the scoresheet 15 minutes from the end to cancel out Cavani’s superb long-range effort. Again Bryan won possession in the defensive third six times, which was bettered only by Victor Lindelof (seven).

Greenwood meanwhile fared slightly better, managing three shots this time, though just one was on target and he missed a ‘big chance’, while he completed two out of his three take-ons, though the 1-1 stalemate serves well to illustrate the frustration on the day for the hosts — and goalless Greenwood in particular.