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Solskjaer admits Greenwood making it “hard to leave him out”

Manchester United v AZ Alkmaar: Group L - UEFA Europa League

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Mason Greenwood of Man Utd celebrates after scoring their 4th goal during the UEFA Europa League group L match between Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford on December 12, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Offside via Getty Images

Mason Greenwood hasn’t just broken into the first team at Manchester United. The 18-year-old playing so well, his manager is even finding it hard to rest him.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that Greenwood’s form is “making it hard for me to leave him out” as the Manchester United boss prepares for a midweek Cup battle with League Two minnows Colchester United.

Greenwood came off the bench to score the equalizer against Everton this past weekend in the 1-1 draw, and as Solskjaer decides what changes to make for the midweek Cup match ahead of the busy festive fixture period of Premier League play, he must make the call on what role Greenwood will play. If there are more Premier League minutes in his future, a rest for this match would be on the cards, but Solskjaer says even that is difficult to pull the trigger on with Greenwood is such good form.

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“He’s making it hard for me to leave him out,” the United boss said, dipping into his usual bag of tricks to recall a time when he played for the Red Devils. “I remember when I came to the club and I kept scoring a few goals and even though I felt I could have performed better, the manager’s comments were ‘it’s hard to keep players who score out of the team.’ “It’s very, very difficult now to put a team out there without having Mason in my mind.”

Greenwood has 13 Premier League appearances this season, but 12 of those have been off the bench. He did not find the back of the net in his lone start, the 2-1 win over Tottenham, but performed well in hold-up play as he allowed Marcus Rashford to do the damage off his shoulder down the left. When given a starting role outside of league play, Greenwood has grasped the chance, scoring four goals in five Europa League starts and bagging two goals in two domestic Cup appearances.

It’s likely that Greenwood will play a major role this week against Colchester, as Solskjaer says he’s taking the Carabao Cup quarterfinal seriously. One major reason was the youth of the squad, knowing performing well in any competition has its benefits given the squad makeup.

“Any young team will benefit from winning a trophy,” Solskjaer said. “The prize now is to get to a semi-final and then you’re not too far away, so the motivation and the attitude will be right on Wednesday definitely.”

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