Many thought Mason Greenwood would breakthrough into the first-team as a striker. Instead, he has been playing out wide. Now, he has been told what he must do to get the #9 role.
I’d like to start by stating that Greenwood has been an absolute revelation. His goals, clinical, instinctive nature is what helped spur the Red Devils on to a spot in the top four.
Despite being deceivingly quick, it still seems logical that Mason Greenwood will play as a striker in the long-term. After all, his talent is somewhat wasted out wide as you get far fewer goal-scoring opportunities.
Being the brilliant man-manager that he is, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seemingly doing his utmost to encourage that positional switch in the long-term.
However, Solskjaer has told Greenwood where he most improve to become a proper striker – and it does make sense…
“For him (Greenwood) to be a number nine, though, he needs to learn how to head a ball. I keep telling him that and if he wants to do that he is welcome to come and practice with me.” Solskjaer told reporters, including the Daily Mirror.
Heading is essential. Not all crosses will be low-driven ones into the box as sometimes it’s just not possible. Hence why the top strikers are all excellent headers of the ball. You look at Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie, and more recently, Harry Kane. All are genuine threats in the air.
At this stage, Greenwood isn’t. He missed a big header against Crystal Palace at the weekend, and I don’t doubt he’s working to try and add that dimension to his game sooner rather than later.
The good news is that Greenwood himself knows he can improve in the air. He’s also young enough to get better at it, after all, he’s still a teenager.
For the next season or two, he’ll probably continue to be utilised out wide. After that, though, don’t be surprised to see the switch to striker made. He’s just too deadly with the ball at his feet for that transition to not feel like an inevitability.