Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says people need to “step back” and appreciate the progress Mason Greenwood has made at Manchester United amid ongoing reports about his poor application in training.
The 19-year-old enjoyed a stunning breakout season for the Red Devils last term, scoring 17 goals across all competitions.
He has struggled on and off the pitch so far this campaign, though, scoring just twice in eight appearances and suffering the indignity of being sent home from England duty following a 1-0 win over Iceland in September for breaching coronavirus protocols.
Greenwood was absent for United’s 3-1 Premier League win over Everton a fortnight ago, while he was not selected by Gareth Southgate for England’s recent internationals.
Reports have surfaced suggesting Red Devils boss Solskjaer has grown frustrated with the teenage academy product and warned the youngster about his punctuality.
Speaking ahead of United’s top-flight clash with West Brom on Saturday, Solskjaer revealed Greenwood has not been feeling well and wants people to recognise the strides he has made over the past 12 months.
“You have to take a step back sometimes,” he told a media conference. “The boy’s only 19 and he’s had a fantastic year.
“If we go a year back, I left him out of the EFL Cup against Chelsea. Mason stayed back and played against Doncaster Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy to get game time, that’s how far he’s come.
“Now he’s got lots of goals, made his England debut, scored in his first Under-21s game and, of course, the headlines are going to be about when he scores and doesn’t play.
“Everyone’s allowed to not be well. If you’re not well you can’t train. He’s been away eight or nine days from training so we’re just building him up again and I have no doubts about him.
“He has a very good head on him and the talent is there for all to see.”
Another United player to have struggled this season is Paul Pogba, who has failed to score or create an assist in his seven Premier League appearances.
He has also created just two chances for his team-mates. By comparison, Bruno Fernandes has laid on 10 times as many, just one shy of Mohamed Salah’s league-high 21.
France coach Didier Deschamps recently suggested Pogba is not satisfied with his “situation” at United after struggling to find his best form.
Solskjaer, however, believes Pogba will be rejuvenated after starting all three of Les Bleus’ internationals over the past fortnight and expects the 27-year-old to be an integral player for United as the season progresses.
“Paul had a difficult season last season and had COVID-19 in this one, but those three games he played for France helped,” he added.
“I spoke to Paul and he felt towards the end of the Portugal and Sweden games he felt stronger. He played well and I think he’s only going to improve.
“Paul is a very important player and very important person for us and to have him in form and happy is going be important.”