Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Mason Greenwood for the leadership and maturity he showed during Tuesday night’s Premier League defeat against Leicester, which racked up his 12th goal of the season and 29th of his senior career.
With the re-arranged game against Liverpool coming up on Thursday, Solskjaer heavily rotated his team to rest a number of key players and 19-year-old Greenwood found himself an elder statesman up front flanked by fellow teenagers Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga.
It was an eagerly awaited full debut for Amad following a handful of substitute appearances in the Europa League, while it was a first senior appearance for Elanga. Greenwood, meanwhile, despite still being a teenager himself, has over 100 United games under his belt.
“When he looks to his right and his left and has got Amad and Anthony next to him, two lads making their [first] Premier League starts, he thinks he's got to be the main man and take responsibility and he did,” Solskjaer said, quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“He was very mature. He looked like a 29-year-old, not a 19-year-old. You saw some definite leadership in the way he had to take responsibility, he knows that.”
Solskjaer acknowledged it can be difficult for younger players to assume that position of responsibility when they are alongside older and more experienced individuals, as if often the case for Greenwood. But he has called on him to keep showing his own leadership.
“He's got 100 games, the experience, the way he took that responsibility I was really pleased with. It's maybe not as easy when you've got Bruno [Fernandes], Paul [Pogba], Marcus [Rashford], and Edinson [Cavani] next to you, which is natural,” the manager explained.
“I still want him to do that on Thursday when he plays with the more experienced ones.”