​Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has claimed that teenager Mason Greenwood is not yet ready to be handed a more prominent role in the first team.

The 18-year-old has been involved in 12 first team games this season, and has scored three goals - including the winner in the Red Devils' 1-0 Europa League victory over Astana in September. 

Brandon Williams,Mason Greenwood

However, Anthony Martial's return from a thigh injury in the 3-1 win over Norwich at Carrow Road is likely to mean Greenwood spends more time in United's developmental sides, evidenced by his appearance in the Under-21s win over Doncaster Rovers two days later.

That line of thinking would appear to have been confirmed by Solskjaer, with the Evening Standard carrying quotes from the Norwegian that suggest Greenwood will need to bide his time for now and work hard.

"If he’d really stamped his authority in training every single day and been the best option, he would have played every game," Solskjaer said.

"But, as a young boy you expect ups and downs, and he’s had some downs. But, I think he is on his way up again. Mason is going to have a very big career, but sometimes it is not the right time to play him. He knows why he hasn’t played as much.

"He needs to learn the man’s game. He’s gone up from the under-18s last year, so now he’s training with the first team every day and you can’t just turn that switch on and off. You’ve got to perform every day if you are going to be accepted by a group like this."


Solskjær further clarified why he will not listen to calls for Greenwood to play more at this stage, adding: "We’re taking our time with him. It’s been a difficult period. Anthony has been away, so to put all the weight on his shoulders wasn’t right either.

"I think we are finding the right balance between playing him, resting him and training him. You always get assessed on results now, but the DNA of this club – and it’s always been in our philosophy and my philosophy - is to give young players with the right attitude a chance.

"If that takes a couple of years for him to really, really come through, it’s worth it for us. I’m managing for Manchester United, I’m not managing for me. I'm managing for the best way I think we can get the best out of Mason."

For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!