Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken to Mason Greenwood about his high-profile England indiscretion and remains furious about the Manchester United teenager being called up in the first place.
No teenager in the club’s history has ever scored more goals in a season, with the 18-year-old shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding breakthrough season.
Senior England honours also came Greenwood’s way, with the teenager making his debut off the bench in the Nations League win against Iceland on the same day that Manchester City playmaker Phil Foden made his bow.
But the youngsters were quickly caught up in controversy after flouting the strict bio bubble in Reykjavik, leading to the pair being sent home, public admonishment from Gareth Southgate and a Football Association investigation.
A post shared by Mason Greenwood (@masongreenwood) on Sep 5, 2020 at 11:47am PDT
United also publicly rebuked Greenwood for his behaviour on a trip that Solskjaer does not believe he should ever have been on, stressing that people “have to understand he’s an 18-year-old kid who needs managing”.
“I’ve worked and the club have worked and all the staff here worked really hard,” Solskjaer said.
“We gave Mason enough time on the pitch, 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. That the club we asked specifically and pointed out that he should have had a rest.
“He needs it mentally and physically after that season he had. First thing that happens is 1) he’s called up, and 2) 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 that when he comes back into the daily routine of the club and what we do to him, he’ll be fine.”
Greenwood had to train on his own when returning to United due to coronavirus measures, but Solskjaer confirmed the teenager can line-up against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Harry Maguire is set to lead the side out at an empty Old Trafford after finding himself in the eye of another storm.
The defender was handed a suspended 21-month sentence after being found guilty of assaulting a police officer, swearing, resisting arrest and bribery during an incident in Mykonos.
Maguire denies the offences and has launched an appeal with the Greek courts, but there is no sign when the case will be heard.
“The process will keep on going,” Solskjaer said. “Knowing Harry, he’s a very strong character so hopefully he can put that apart.
“But, naturally, as a human being it will be in the back of his mind what’s happened this summer, and apart from that you’ve just got to see how it develops with Harry.
Thanks for everyone’s support over the last week, I’m pleased to have had my say and share the true version of events. Looking forward to getting on with life now and the season ahead with @manchesterunited and @england.
A post shared by Harry Maguire (@harrymaguire93) on Aug 28, 2020 at 6:42am PDT
“Personally, I think he will be able to focus on his football but then again who am I to … you can’t predict how people will react.
“But so far he’s trained well, he’s been focused, so hopefully that process will just go on and, of course, we know it’s something that will go on in the legal department over there.”
Maguire will relish the return to football, as will Donny van de Beek as the summer signing prepares to make his United debut.
Paul Pogba is available after a positive Covid-19 test and Luke Shaw has overcome an ankle injury, but Solskjaer gave little away about his number one with David De Gea facing new competition from Dean Henderson.
🗣 "I'm not going to tell you the team, but the goalkeeper training has been great," Ole adds.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 18, 2020
“I can’t, I’m not going tell you the team today” he said.
“But the goalkeeper training has been fantastic to watch. It’s so enjoyable, it’s the highest possible quality you can imagine.
“I know the goalkeeper coaches are really enjoying working with them. Some of the stuff is fantastic and it’s going to be an interesting, interesting thing for many to follow.
“They are working well together at the moment. Sergio (Romero) has not come back yet, he was given some extra time with his family.”