Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood scored his first Premier League goal for the club during Sunday’s pulsating 3-3 draw at Sheffield United, the youngster joining an exclusive list of teenage players to have netted a league goal for the club.
At just 18-years-old, hopes are high that Greenwood can have a long and successful future at Old Trafford, though history tells us that an early goal is not always a sign of future success.
Here are Manchester United’s five youngest goalscorers in Premier League history…
James Wilson vs Hull City – 18 years, 5 months, 5 days
The academy graduate was handed his debut during Ryan Giggs’ spell as interim manager, enjoying a dream debut that swiftly got fans excited over the young forward’s potential.
Wilson would open the scoring against Hull City at Old Trafford in May 2014, before scoring again in the second half as Manchester United won 3-1.
Wilson’s impact would see him feature regularly the following season, scoring twice in 17 appearances, but he struggled to cement a position and had loan spells at the likes of Brighton, Derby, Sheffield United and Aberdeen with mixed success.
He would join the latter on a permanent basis this past summer, the 23-year-old having failed to make the grade at Premier League level.
Rafael vs Arsenal – 18 years, 3 months, 30 days
The Brazilian full-back would arrive at Manchester United alongside twin brother Fabio, emerging as a promising talent and swiftly establishing himself in the first-team.
Having made his debut on the opening day of the 2008/09 season, it would take the youngster just four league appearances to score his first goal, netting a late consolation in a defeat to Arsenal in November 2008.
His competitive nature would make him a popular figure during an eight-year spell at the club, Rafael making 169 appearances and winning three Premier League titles before leaving for Lyon in 2015.
Mason Greenwood vs Sheffield United – 18 years, 1 month, 24 days
One of the most exciting prospects to emerge from the club’s academy in recent years, hopes are high that the versatile forward can become a first-team regular at Old Trafford.
Having score prolifically for the club’s youth sides, Greenwood has been integrated into the first-team this season and has already scored in the League Cup and Europa League, before netting his first Premier League goal this weekend.
Greenwood’s goal at Sheffield United made him the third youngest goalscorer in United’s Premier League history, it is unlikely to be his last in the club’s colours.
Danny Welbeck vs Stoke City – 17 years, 11 months, 20 days
The Longsight-born forward would enjoy a dream debut at just 17-years-old, coming on as a substitute against Stoke in November 2008 before scoring a stunning goal from distance in a 5-0 victory.
The goal announced the arrival of the talented striker who would make 142 appearances for the club over six seasons, scoring 29 goals before leaving for Arsenal in a £16m deal in 2014.
His career since his departure has been blighted by consistent injury problems and he moved to Watford on a free transfer this summer, though 16 goals in 42 appearances for England highlight his talent when fully-fit.
Federico Macheda vs Aston Villa – 17 years, 7 months, 14 days
Federico Macheda will be a name that lives long in the memory of Manchester United fans, though perhaps not for the impact they anticipated following his arrival as a Premier League player in April 2009.
Trailing 2-1 at home to Aston Villa in the midst of a tight title-race with arch-rivals Liverpool, Sir Alex Ferguson turned to an unproven teenager in the hopes of a turnaround.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s equaliser had set up a tense finish, before Macheda produced a moment of magic to win the game in stoppage-time.
Turning on the edge of the box he would fire home a delightful curled effort, sparking wild celebrations and announcing himself as the club’s youngest ever Premier League goalscorer.
The Italian would repeat the trick the following week to secure victory at Sunderland, United eventually securing the title by a margin of just four points.
Macheda would never fulfil that potential, however, enjoying a nomadic career taking in spells at the likes of Doncaster, Novara and now Panathinaikos, though his place in the club’s history – albeit fleetingly – is secured.