There is no such thing as a guarantee in football. This phrase should not even be entertained in a sport as unpredictable and volatile as this.
The closest we come to accepting this term, however, seems to be with our metrics in judging young talents. Universally, there are certain figures in the game that appear destined for greatness. No disputing the matter, they just simply appear too good, to not conquer.
Kylian Mbappe. Erling Haaland. Phil Foden. Manchester United have one of their own in this bracket, Mason Greenwood.
The 19-year-old has always been tipped to reach the top by those around the Carrington complex. A gifted forward that registered 31 goals in 30 games at U20 level, making an appearance for the U23s just a couple weeks after turning 17. It seemed unfathomable that this teenager wouldn’t one day be gracing the turf of Old Trafford, leading out the first-team.
That time has already arrived, and Greenwood is quickly hitting new heights in his short career.
Three goals in three games would be a welcomed stat by any forward in the division to kick-start the season, but it isn’t just his scoring tally that is fuelling the hype around the Englishman. Operating as the focal point against Leeds United, the striker terrorised both Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk with his constant runs down the channel. His movement created gaps in the middle for the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay to surge into, leaving the Peacocks flapping.
Bielsa ball was far from its full flow state, with Leeds struggling to find space across the park. Setting the pace from the off, Greenwood showcased that attack really can be the best form of defence.
Such a spearheaded approach to the game helped United run riot, putting five past Leeds at home for a second successive season. The forward completed five dribbles that day, more than anybody else on the field. In the last outing at Wolves, he registered four, with only Adama Traore achieving more in this department. For context though, the Spaniard topped the entirety of this chart last year.
This ability to divert into the half spaces in and around the area has seen Greenwood become associated with being one of the most dangerous attackers in the league, with his finishing moving him into the bracket as one of the most deadly too. His three goals this season have come from just four shots on target, two with his left and one on his right. It’s become quite the trivia amongst fans deciding which foot is the youngster’s preferred – the safe bet is not making a bet at all. He can strike the ball just as clean and just as sweet, regardless of his angle or position.
Poetically, two of his three strikes have come from either channel too, with the other coming from the center of the box. There appears to be no ceiling on his ability to find the net, making him a valuable asset at present, and not just one for the future.
United are spoilt for riches in the attacking department, an area that has only further strengthened this window through the recruits of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo. Competition for places this season is hotting up, but Greenwood has staked his claim early, in being one of the first names on the team-sheet.