Gary Neville Credit: Getty
Manchester United legend Gary Neville believes Mason Greenwood should be given a centre role as one other attacking option looks set to leave Old Trafford.
At the age of just 20, the Bradford-born forward has already surpassed a century of senior appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils after becoming one of the most talked-about prospects in the club’s academy.
Former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed Greenwood a competitive senior debut when he replaced Ashley Young in the closing stages of a 3-1 win against Paris Saint Germain in March 2019.
Since that fleeting display, Greenwood has been used largely on the right-hand side of the attack, rather than the central role where former club captain Neville feels he can flourish.
Speaking on Sky Sports following the recent 1-1 draw at Newcastle, Neville said: “I think Greenwood has to play. For me he is an exceptional talent.
“I think he can potentially play with his back to goal, he can receive on the half turn.
“But I just think he has to play. I think the growth in him is greater than a lot of the other young players in the squad.
“I think he’s got so much to give. I think everybody that’s a Manchester United fan, Manchester United coaching staff, everybody recognises this could be something really special.
“Get his head right, keep him fit, keep him consistent, make sure he has good senior players around him that can basically lead him and get him on track, and I think you’ve got someone there who can be anything he wants to be in football.
“I think he has to be in the team to grow, I think he’s a goal [threat] all the time, probably more than Sancho.
“So for me it’s not a surprise that he’s in the team.”
What’s the latest United transfer news?
The Red Devils are still waiting to make their first move in the January transfer window with Marseille’s Boubacar Kamara and Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz both linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Departures, rather than arrivals, seem more likely over the next week with defender Axel Tuanzebe completing the formalities of a loan move to Serie A club Napoli.
One other player likely to depart is forward Anthony Martial after he informed interim manager Ralf Rangnick of his wish to end his six and a half year stay at Old Trafford. Martial is under contract for around two and a half years after agreeing a new deal believed to be worth around £250,000 in 2019.
However, it seems his time at Old Trafford is coming to a close with La Liga side Sevilla submitting an unsuccessful loan bid for his services and Premier League rivals Newcastle United also showing an interest in the Frenchman.
Neville explained why he believes the time is right for Martial depart.
He said:“I think if they can get good money for him, I think that now the time has come.
“I think Manchester United have always been wary of getting burned, of him leaving for £25m and then going on to become a £100m player because he is a special talent.
“I just don’t think he’ll ever work at Old Trafford to the extent they’ve got Rashford, Greenwood, Ronaldo, Cavani, other players as well.“I just think now is the time for him to leave and go and play regular football so I think it’s the right time.”