Football

Mason Greenwood in line to start EPL opener: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

United boss Solskjaer praises youngster after win over Leeds

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said 17-year-old Mason Greenwood is in line to start the English Premier League opener against Chelsea on Aug 11.

FRIENDLY
MAN UNITED LEEDS UNITED
4 0
(Mason Greenwood 7, Marcus Rashford 27, Phil Jones 51, Anthony Martial 69-pen)  

Speaking after the youngster opened the scoring in yesterday's 4-0 win over Leeds United in Perth, the Norwegian said: "Mason has a chance to start against Chelsea, definitely.

"He is more than capable.

"It is a good possibility if he keeps going as he does.

"It is difficult to keep players out who perform well.

"(I was) delighted with the goal he scored. That first goal is a weight off his shoulders.

"With his movement, cleverness, he's going to be a very good player. He's a natural footballer who can play anywhere along the front line."

Paul Pogba also shined as an under-pressure United stepped up their pre-season campaign with the thrashing of old rivals Leeds, reported AFP.

United had faced criticism after an unconvincing 2-0 victory over a depleted Perth Glory last Saturday.

Pogba, who has been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid, starred in United's dominant first half and was part of a pretty chain of passing to set up Greenwood's first senior goal in the seventh minute.

Moments later, a powerful strike from the French midfielder was well-saved by goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

Before the match, Solskjaer reiterated that he wants to build his team around Pogba, despite the 26-year-old and his agent Mino Raiola openly saying he wants to leave the club.

Said Solskjaer: "Paul is a fantastic player, a fantastic human being, always been a great professional.

"I've had a great relationship with him. Of course, I had him in the reserves a few years back.

"And I said: 'If he's in your squad, you'd build a team around him' - and, of course, I haven't changed that much since then, so I would say the same now."

United's second goal came via a moment of magic in the 27th minute from Marcus Rashford, a livewire in the first half.

After a neat dribble past the Leeds defence, the 21-year-old expertly tapped it past Casilla.

Solskjaer changed his entire line-up at half-time in a repeat of the match against Perth Glory.

United continued to dictate, with Phil Jones scoring a thumping header from a corner in the 51st minute.

Anthony Martial rounded out a spectacular performance in the 69th minute by converting a penalty, after Tahith Chong was taken down in the box.

The first clash in eight years between the one-time bitter enemies fizzled out, but a near-capacity Perth Stadium crowd of 55,000 underlined the rivalry's stature.

Romelu Lukaku was once again absent, fuelling speculation he had been dropped from the squad amid reports he was close to securing a move to Inter Milan.

United said the Belgian suffered a knock at training.

MAGUIRE BID

Meanwhile, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers said that the two bids received for his England centre-back Harry Maguire have been "nowhere near" the club's valuation.

The bids are widely reported to have come from United.

Leicester are believed to want more than the £75 million (S$126.7m) Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk.

United are expected to arrive in Singapore tonight for the International Champions Cup, where they will face Inter Milan at the National Stadium on Saturday.

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