Manchester United preparing Greenwood for long England career - Southgate

Posted Tuesday, December 08, 2020 by

Manchester United preparing Greenwood for long England career - Southgate

The Three Lions manager has praised the teenager on his return from a spell with both his club and country

Mason Greenwood has been given a spell out of the limelight for both Manchester United and England but Gareth Southgate was delighted to see him back amongst the goals against West Ham.

The 19-year-old put the Red Devils ahead at the London Stadium in a 3-1 win on Saturday and he looks set to start against RB Leipzig in a crucial Champions League clash.

However, his last few months have seen him struggle to have an impact with club and country. England dropped Greenwood in September over a breach of coronavirus quarantine guidelines in Iceland.

Subsequently, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has since spoken with Southgate with the two managers agreeing he should avoid international duty, while also taking a back step at his club.

Now, it appears as though the youngster is back in the fold at Old Trafford and Southgate is keen to see him keep performing ahead of the next international break in March.

"I think for all the young players that we have got that there's a huge competition for places," Southgate told reporters through a Zoom video press conference. "I think with Mason, you see that his finish for United epitomises his biggest strength for me. One chance and a fantastic touch to put him in a position and the finish.

"That's what we were seeing towards the end of last season which was why we called him in to the squad in September so with any young players they will have moments when they are flying and going well with dips.

"He has great support at his football club, he has got people who care for him there and we will bring him in and out of the team at the right times. Hopefully, he will get a run of games now. At a club like Man United, any game is important and you always have to perform under pressure.

"You always perform with high expectations which is great for their young players because they will already deal with what they have to deal with for England."

England saw their group for the World Cup qualifying announced today with Poland and Hungary the two strongest nations to be drawn alongside the 2018 semi-finalists.

The qualifier dates will be announced tomorrow and campaign begins in March ahead of Euro 2020, which was pushed back to 2021 due to Covid-19 related disruptions to the football calendar.

Southgate admits that he knows his strongest XI for the upcoming pan-European tournament and also his best squad.

"I think we know now what team we would play if the tournament was tomorrow," he added. "But we have got 20 league matches before we see the players again. That's an enormous about of games to see where the players are and we will potentially lose some to injuries.

"There's still such a long part of the season to be played, that's why we constantly track the players who are playing and on the fringes of the squad. You hope to be by March to be six weeks away from naming a final squad.

"So you will hope that's what you have got for the summer but then there's still another six or seven games. History says you might lose a few in that spell. We are pretty clear on what our long list would be, what it would look like for 23 and what our first XI would be."



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