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Robin van Persie Backs Mason Greenwood to Succeed at Manchester United

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Mason Greenwood of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Manchester United at Bramall Lane on November 24, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Robin van Persie believes Mason Greenwood will be "very good" for Manchester United in the future because "he tries to copy me." 

UEFA Europa League @EuropaLeague

Van Persie on Mason Greenwood = 😉 Do you see comparisons between the two? #UEL | @UKEnterprise https://t.co/NbW7w8FtUq

Van Persie, 36, was the last United player to pass the 20-goal mark in a Premier League season when he scored 26 under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012-13, the last time the Red Devils won the title. 

United have since been through a string of No. 9s, including Wayne Rooney, in his latter days at the club, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku.

This season, after Lukaku's summer exit to Inter Milan, the goalscoring duties have been left to Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and 18-year-old academy graduate Greenwood.

Rashford has thrived with the responsibility, already matching his previous best of 10 goals for a Premier League season:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

⚽️ Marcus Rashford’s PL goals by season: 15/16 - 5 (11 apps) 16/17 - 5 (32 apps) 17/18 - 7 (35 apps) 18/19 - 10 (33 apps) 19/20 - 10 (16 apps) https://t.co/LpwcT4GbsW

Greenwood, meanwhile, has caught the eye with his remarkable finishing, and Van Persie believes he will make the grade at Old Trafford, per the UEFA Europa League's Instagram account (h/t Goal's James Westwood):

"I think he will be very good because during every game he tries to copy me. My style, my technique, my left foot, my way of finishing...so, I'm sure he will end up there [like me]."

Greenwood has scored three goals in the last week, all three immaculate left-footed finishes, to take his tally for the season in all competitions to seven goals in 19 senior appearances. He averages a goal every 110 minutes this term.

He netted a double in United's 4-0 Europa League win over AZ Alkmaar last Thursday and then scored the equaliser in Sunday's 1-1 home draw with Everton:

Premier League @premierleague

Mason Greenwood is the youngest Man Utd scorer (18y 75d) at Old Trafford in the #PL since Federico Macheda (17y 226d) in April 2009 #MUNEVE https://t.co/pLYA6nxVd2

The teenager is a fantastic option for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to have in his squad because he can play as a No. 9, a No. 10 or on the right flank.

Martial, Rashford and summer signing Daniel James make up arguably United's best front three at the moment, but Greenwood is making a good case for a starting spot: 

Simon Stone @sistoney67

OGS will make changes for @ColU_Official but Mason Greenwood form gives him a problem. “He’s making it hard for me to leave him out. When I played manager said it was hard to keep players who score out of team. Is very difficult to put team out without having Mason in my mind”

Greenwood is likely to get plenty more opportunities over the Christmas period.

Starting with their Carabao Cup clash against Colchester United on Wednesday, United have six matches in 18 days, and Solskjaer will need to rotate his squad effectively if the Red Devils are to continue their recent run of good form.