Mason Greenwood is setting his sights on breaking records for club and country following the teenage forward’s first call up to the senior England side.
The Manchester United star has been included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for this month’s Nations League fixtures with Iceland and Denmark, the youngster rewarded following a breakthrough season in which he has established himself as one of English football’s most exciting talents.
Greenwood’s debut season has seen him score 17 goals in all competitions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, becoming only the third player in Premier League history – and first since Michael Owen more than two decades ago – to score 10 league goals aged 18 or under.
The forward’s phenomenal form and natural finishing ability has prompted Alan Shearer to claim Greenwood could be the one to break his all time Premier League goalscoring record, and the 18-year-old admits he is dreaming of setting new landmarks ahead of a potential international debut.
“Any young football player would want to break records and if you didn’t, there’s something wrong,” Greenwood said at a press conference to mark his first call up to the senior side.
“It’s always nice to have visions and goals you set in your football career and that goes for virtually any England forward – go out there and do your best and break records, and just be remembered forever, really.”
Wayne Rooney currently holds the all-time goalscoring records for both Manchester United and England and says Greenwood is ‘the best finisher’ at his former side at present, admitting the talented teenager possesses a natural instinct he lacked when it comes to scoring goals.
“He is probably the best finisher at United already at the age of 18 and in goalscorers you can just see it from day one — Harry Kane and Michael Owen had the knack and it’s the same with Greenwood,” Rooney wrote in The Times at the weekend.
“As I’ve said before, I wasn’t a natural scorer.
“That knack is rare and Gareth needs a proper deputy for Kane, someone he can slot in if Harry is injured or suspended.
“For me, Marcus Rashford is not such a natural scorer and nor is Tammy Abraham. But Greenwood can be that player.”
Greenwood admits it is ‘nice’ to hear praise from former stars such as Rooney, but says he is keen to remain focused as he bids to establish himself as a senior England international ahead of this weekend’s clash with Iceland.
“He’s been a legend, he’s done it all,” Greenwood said. “He’s been good for England as well, so for someone like that to say that about me is nice to hear.
“Obviously it’s nice to hear those things, but it’s all about staying focused and proving your point on the pitch. But to hear things like that from Wayne and a big United legend, it’s amazing. I’ve been watching him as a kid, so for him to be talking like that puts a smile on my face.”
Greenwood’s temperament has been a huge factor following his emergence last season with the forward seemingly unfazed when it comes to performing for one of the Premier League’s biggest sides, and the star admits that remaining ‘level-headed’ has been the biggest lesson he has learnt since catapulting himself into the spotlight.
Asked what he had learned from his breakthrough season, Greenwood said: “Just to be level-headed, you can’t let much get to you. You have to be always concentrating and always ready to play.
“As soon as you lose concentration, anything can happen. You’ve got to be always focused and ready for the opportunities to come.”