It’s quite a compliment when the Premier League record scorer praises an 18-year-old with only half a century of first team appearances to his name at some point in the future to become the man at the top of the top.
But that is exactly the praise Mason Greenwood received from Alan Shearer Match of the day, with former Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle sharpshooter describing Manchester United striker as ‘a potential superstar’.
“I think we can talk about the Premier League goalscorer in 12 or 13 years’ time,” Shearer said on Wednesday at Greenwood’s crucial equalizer against West Ham in Old Trafford.
Mason Greenwood scored his tenth highest flight goal of the season against West Ham United
Alan Shearer scored a whopping 260 goals in Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle
“I know so many things can happen in your career, but I think he’s that good. He’s 18 years old, he’s getting bigger, he’s getting better. ‘
It’s a statement, as Shearer’s leading 260 goal count is 52 ahead of second on the list, Wayne Rooney.
Greenwood currently stands at just 4 percent of Shearer’s rating: the 18-year-old scored 10 times in the league, with 17 overall in all competitions, including his first competitive goal for the club in the Europa League group stage in September.
MASON GREENWOOD CAREER STATISTICS
- Appearances: 50
- Goals: 17
- Helps: 5
- Debut: March 6, 2019, vs PSG
- First competitive goal: September 19, 2019, vs Astana
Statistics according to Transfer Market
However, Greenwood – who only made his full debut in March’s dramatic Champions League win against PSG – is already setting his own records, so has been his deadly conversion rate since the lockdown.
On Sunday, in what is basically a Champions League playoff against Leicester on the last day, Greenwood could set the benchmark for most goals in one season by any teenager in United’s history.
As it stands, he’s tied to 17 with club legends Rooney, George Best and Brian Kidd.
In addition, although Rooney achieved that feat in 42 games in one season and Best in 43, Greenwood has played for United 46 times this season, but can break the record in his 47th – Kidd, incidentally, made that number after 50 games.
For now, he’s on the same level as a respected company, but you wouldn’t bet Greenwood would make a difference at King Power, his recent record is for goal.
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Greenwood is the ‘best finisher he has ever worked with’ in football all the time, the world knows this is not a feeling of quality club inflation to a breakout star. The numbers speak for themselves.
Wayne Rooney and George Best scored 17 goals in their best seasons as Utd teens
Brian Kidd also scored 17 goals in one season as a teenager with the 1968 European Cup
But the stats don’t stop there for Greenwood, who has shown he can impressively finish confidently on both feet – from his 17 goals so far, 13 have come with his left foot and four with his right foot.
The United striker is the youngest player to reach 50 appearances for the club since a certain Ryan Giggs in 1992, who turned out to be the most decorated player in Manchester United history.
In addition, Greenwood is the first player since the 1997-98 season to score 10 or more goals in a Premier League season aged 18 or younger.
Back then, it was Michael Owen for Liverpool, who was the league’s top scorer with 18 goals, and famously set the world on fire with his strike against Argentina during that summer’s World Cup.
Likewise, if Greenwood’s development continues at the current fast pace, he will certainly be a shoo-in to Gareth Southgate’s squad for next summer’s postponed European championships. More in his sights is now an appeal to the internationals of October.
Michael Owen scored a whopping 18 goals at the age of just 18 in the 1997-98 Premier League
Greenwood is the youngest player to have played 50 times in the United States since United Giggs in 1992
Still, it’s with his club where Greenwood continues to shine, amid a great, exuberant forward line. From Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and the recently acquired loaned Odion Ighalo, Greenwood is ahead of all three senior players on the team,
That in itself says a lot. Solskjaer has put a lot of faith in homegrown talent – the supporter of the United States who dreamed of coming to Old Trafford from an early age.
Notably, he stood out during the three-month lockout, returned to training and matched a stronger and leaner player – reportedly building 3kg of muscle with intensive gym and weight training.
“Mason is more and more like a man,” said manager Solskjaer at the time.
“He’s still 18 and this closing period has done him all the good in the world as they develop and fill in at his age.”
But it’s the sheer power and accuracy for the goal – most notably against Bournemouth, Aston Villa and the Hammers – that makes him invaluable at this point as the 2019-20 season peaks.
Greenwood starred in a United team desperate for goals in their race for the top four
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reaped the rewards by putting his trust in the 18-year-old marksman
For now, talking about breaking Shearer’s record should be put on ice, especially (like the BBC connoisseur noted) as it only takes one injury or a short loss of form to lose your place in the starting XI.
But goal stats are essentially what strikers are judged on, and Greenwood can’t hurt his growing reputation if he keeps matching records with Rooney, Best and Co.
But if he can break through the all-time season of a United teenager on Sunday and lead Solskjaer and his team to the Champions League qualification, Greenwood will have grown into nothing less than a teenager savior in no time.