Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has vowed to ‘protect’ under-fire Mason Greenwood following criticism of the youngster and revealed he was against the teenager’s call up to the senior England squad.
Greenwood has emerged as arguably the most exciting young talent in English football following a breakthrough season at Manchester United, the 18-year-old scoring 17 goals in all competitions, the joint most ever recorded by a teenager at Old Trafford.
The forward’s displays have led to greater exposure and a first senior call-up to the England squad, though a landmark moment was tainted after Greenwood was sent home – alongside Manchester City’s Phil Foden – for breaking coronavirus protocols after inviting women to the England team hotel.
Solskjaer has now moved to defend the youngster and says he has spoken to Greenwood regarding the incident, before revealing how he had been against the forward’s involvement with England following a testing season at United.
The Norwegian believes Greenwood needed a rest both ‘mentally and physically’ following a breakout campaign and has questioned the wisdom of England’s decision to bring the teenager further into the media spotlight.
“Yeah, of course I’ve spoken to Mason,” Solskjaer told a pre-match press conference.
“What we speak about and discuss will be between the two of us. The kid had a fantastic season, he’s just come through, I’ve worked and the club has worked and all the staff here have worked really hard to – when we gave Mason enough time on the pitch, when we gave him exposure in the media, then you come to the end of the season and we’ve had less than two weeks off and he’s called up to the national team.
“I have to be honest enough to say I tried my best to give him a rest over the summer, at the club we asked specifically and pointed out he should have had a rest.
”He needs it mentally and physically after that season he had and the first thing that happens is one, he’s called up and two, he’s right there in the press.
“We’ve done whatever we can to protect him and I will keep on helping him. I know when he comes back into the daily routine of the club and what we do to him he’ll be fine.”
Manchester United begin their season tomorrow with a home clash against Crystal Palace, although it remains to be seen whether Greenwood will feature after having spent time training away from the group due to coronavirus protocols.