Mason Greenwood could be set for his England debut today as Gareth Southgate prepares to take ice to Iceland in the Nations League. The England manager has been impressed by the performances of the 18-year-old Manchester United star during lockdown – and his composure in front of goal.
Greenwood, handed the No 11 shirt by the Red Devils on Friday, has only one goal apiece at under-17, under-18 and under-21 level for his country.
But the teenager was frighteningly lethal after the Premier League’s restart and in his first season as a first-team regular at Old Trafford, managed an impressive 17 senior goals.
That included 10 goals in the Premier League, where he often featured out on the right flank despite predominantly being a centre-forward, despite making just 12 starts.
“With him, there’s genuinely… the quality of finishing, the way he’s got this icy cold stare, very calm disposition generally which I think is clear when he’s in and around the penalty box and for somebody of his age, that’s remarkable maturity,” Southgate said.
“And I have to say it is really rare to see a player as comfortable with both feet, not just in terms of the ability to receive and pass but finishing with both feet.
“I had to ask whether he was right or left footed. I feel slightly embarrassed, you’ve picked a player for England and you’re not sure which foot he kicks the ball with!”
Team-mates have been equally impressed but Harry Kane says there is nothing “natural” about his goalscoring ability. Instead it is down to hours of hard work.
Kane knows all about being a lethal finisher himself, the 27-year-old having racked up 188 goals in just 287 appearances for Tottenham.
“Mason has been great,” the Spurs hit-man said. “I have been able to train with him for the last three or four days.
“He has been really sharp and ready and has got that natural goalscorer’s instinct of being in the right place at the right time.
“People use the phrase ‘he is a natural goalscorer’ and I guess it is just one of those things, you work a lot on being in the right place at the right time.
“Watching him in the short time that he’s been here, he has all different types of finishes, which shows he’s a complete finisher.
“You still have to practise and work on your craft but looking at the start Mason has made, he has got all that down to a tee right now.”
Speaking about his call-up earlier this week, Greenwood said: “It’s a dream come true. Playing for England is every young boy’s dream.
“It’s a privilege and I’m honoured to be selected because it’s a good group of lads. I’m just happy to be here.
“I got the phone call, I was at home with my dad. I was over the moon, excited and just couldn’t wait to be out there.
“The manager rang me and told me about my selection as well as my season at United.
“My dad was buzzing for me. He’s level-headed though so he kept me down early. It’s a dream come true like I said before.”
Published at Sat, 05 Sep 2020 05:45:00 +0000