Manchester United youngster Mason Greenwood has sent a “big statement” to his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he should not make way for Jason Sancho if the England winger signs from Borussia Dortmund this summer after his role in their 5-2 win over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.
The 18-year-old took his tally to the season to 15 goals and three assists from 41 games, having now scored eight times in 26 Premier League games.
Three goals and an assist have come in his last two matches having played a big part in the away win at Brighton last week.
Against Bournemouth, United’s academy graduate found the top corner off of either foot in each half, putting the hosts 1-0 up and then making it 4-2 in the second half.
The Red Devils went to claim a big three points in the race for Champions League football with Greenwood underlining his massive potential with both goals.
But ESPN FC pundit Steve Nicol also believes Greenwood sent Solskjaer a message over United’s interest in Dortmund winger Sancho.
Greenwood has played off the right-hand side in most of his minutes for United this season and while he can also play as a centre forward, it is out wide where the bulk of his appearances are expected to come in the immediate future.
But with Marcus Rashford having nailed down the left-wing role, Sancho – if United clinch a deal to bring him to Old Trafford – would seemingly command the starting spot on the right.
That would drop Greenwood to the bench but Nicol believes the teenager does not deserve to lose his place to 20-year-old Sancho, who managed 20 goals and 20 assists in 40 games for Dortmund this term, if he maintains such form.
“I was initially thinking with all this talk about Sancho coming to Manchester United, the obvious person to drop out would be Greenwood,” Nicol told ESPN FC.
“He made a big statement today saying, ‘You know what, Sancho’s coming? I’m not dropping out. It’s going to have to be somebody else.’
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“If he keeps performing the way he did today, keeps scoring goals whether it’s on his left side or on his right side, it’s going to be tough for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to turn round and say: ‘You’re not playing, I’m playing somebody else.’
“It was a huge statement from him today, as it was from United’s attacking force, everybody contributing, everybody’s movement, shots at goal, goals, you name it. Going forward it was good to watch.
Asked if United still need to sign Sancho, Solskjaer added: “You always need good competition and that’s exactly what will happen [if Sancho signs]. It’s not good competition, it’s fantastic competition.
“Right now, the front three are pretty sensational and right now look as though they’re unstoppable.
“If Sancho coming in, which we expect him to do, takes it up another notch then my goodness, teams better batten down the hatches when they play United.”
Discussing Greenwood’s performance against the Cherries, Solskjaer said post-match: “He is a fantastic goalscorer. The moments he chose the goal, they were very important moments for us.
“The second one, you know he has a left foot to come inside, but I think defenders will have to think about the right foot as well because he’s shown he can score with his right.
“He is a very, very talented boy and we will nurture him and manage him as well as we can and give him more and more minutes.”
United legend Gary Neville insists his former club will almost certainly have to pay more than the £50million fee they have reportedly set as the maximum amount they will pay.
“I think you might have to pay a little bit more than that Ole,” he said on Sky Sports.
“That’s the problem because some clubs think that other clubs will get desperate and sell players on the cheap.
“But I’m not sure you can bully clubs like Borussia Dortmund.”
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