It’s not easy to get attention at Manchester United these days, as was the transformation in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s vibrant young team.
Marcus Rashford also scored his twentieth goal of the season against Bournemouth and Anthony Martial. Bruno Fernandes was on target and on song again. Paul Pogba was able to sit in the back seat and still watch United’s score.
But at the end of yet another hugely encouraging offensive screen, the name on everyone’s lips was Mason Greenwood.
Mason Greenwood’s doppelganger over Bournemouth should get Gareth Southgate excited
The 18-year-old brought his Premier League total to eight in a beating 5-2 win over Old Trafford
Two more fantastic goals brought the 18-year-old’s total to eight this season in the Premier League, the highest scorer of his age in the top flight since Wayne Rooney for Everton in 2003-04.
However, all nine of Rooney’s goals came into the league, while Greenwood has 15 in all competitions and United can play another 11 games.
Rooney broke with the English squad that season and appeared at Euro 2004. Rashford did the same for Euro 2016, also at the age of 18.
This summer’s Euro would be too early for Greenwood, but a 12-month delay means he will definitely be in Gareth Southgate’s plans next summer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that the talent is ready for the task that follows his performance this term
For example, Solskjaer has no doubts that the teenager is up to the challenge.
“If you play for Manchester United, I think it’s a good enough test,” he said.
“If you can play for United, you can play for any team.
Mason has the qualities not many others have, so he could play for the full English team or the Under 21s. He always scores goals. He will fill in, so we continue to build it up at the gym and on the field. ‘
Unlike Rooney, Greenwood was not an early developer, but he piled up during lockdown.
However, the eye for purpose is still the same. He had two chances against Bournemouth and took both, one with his favorite left foot and the other with the right.
Greenwood has already impressed England under the age of 21 and can be ready for the big time
The youngster’s progress raises an interesting question about how United is chasing Jadon Sancho.
The Borussia Dortmund winger is earmarked to play on the right-side of a 4-2-3-1 lineup. For some time it was United’s problem position, but not anymore.
Sancho won’t be cheap, and neither will Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, another transfer target that would naturally fit that band of three.
Solskjaer wants good options in every position and will be wary of overburdening Greenwood, but it would be hard to stop him now.
“You have no reason not to trust a player like Mason,” said Rashford. “It was never a question of whether he would play with us, it was just when. When can we get him involved? Ole did a great job with him. ‘
Greenwood is the latest English prodigy to emerge after Jadon Sancho in Dortmund
Greenwood’s goals – leveling United after Bournemouth took a shock lead and made it clear when Eddie Howe’s squad threatened a comeback at 3-2 – overshadowed a brilliant finish from Martial and Fernandes’ clinical free kick.
Rashford scored from the penalty spot for his 20th goal of a season in danger of being cut short when he suffered a double back fracture in January.
“It was absolutely difficult to hear news,” England striker recalled. “I’ve had an injury before, but this time it was a lot worse. I want to say how blessed I feel to be healthy again. ‘
United’s defense didn’t cover itself in glory when Junior Stanislas bit Harry Maguire and defeated David de Gea at his nearby post. Later substitute Eric Bailly played handball to give away a penalty converted by Josh King.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford also came on the score sheet in the rout on Saturday
The side of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing well and would like to continue to put pressure on Chelsea
But it was a day to sit back and admire United’s attacking power, and another demonstration that Solskjaer’s vision is getting closer to reality.
This was the fourth time in the last 16 games that United has scored five goals or more.
Not bad considering they only did it three times in the first 367 games after Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
“There is a huge flow of positivity right now and we want to keep doing that,” Rashford added.
Bournemouth seems to be a team going the other way. Confidence has subsided and they’ve taken a run out of the last eight games, plunging deep into relegation issues.
COMPETITION FACTS AND REVIEWS
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): De Gea 5; Wan-Bissaka 6, Lindelof 5.5 (Bailly 46min, 5.5), Maguire 5, Shaw 6; Pogba 6.5, Matic 6 (Fred 67); Greenwood 9 (James 75, 6), Fernandes 8, Rashford 7.5 (Ighalo 80); Martial 7 (Mata 80).
Subs not used: Pereira, Romero, McTominay, Williams.
Scorers: Greenwood 29, 54, Rashford 35 (pen), Martial 45 + 2, Fernandes 59.
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 8.
BOURNEMOUTH (4-4-2): Ramsdale 5; Smith 4.5 (Stacey 77), Ake 6, Kelly 5, Rico 5; Brooks 5 (Danjuma 46, 6.5), L Cook 6 (H Wilson 66, 6), Lerma 5, Stanislas 7 (Gosling 66, 5); King 6, Solanke 5 (Billing 66, 6).
Subs not used: Boruc, Travers, Surman, Surridge. Scorers: Stanislas 15, King 49 (pen).
Administrator: Eddie Howe 5.5.
Referee: Mike Dean 7
They face Tottenham on Thursday, followed quickly by Leicester and Manchester City.
“Games are running out,” Stanislas admitted. “If we want to stay with the division, we have to start collecting points.
“We have no excuses. We can’t keep talking – it’s time for action. ‘