Man Utd starlet Mason Greenwood will be one of England's greatest-ever strikers only Rooney and Ronaldo match ability

IN ten years’ time, we will be talking about Mason Greenwood as one of the greatest English forwards ever.

I said that many times last season, having been fortunate to witness his incredible instinct and two-footed ability in front of goal.

And in saying this, don’t believe the nonsense some will spout that I am part of some covert operation to build the player up so he may be knocked down.

It is praise where it is due — and it would be wrong not to say it.

Having covered Manchester United for 21 years, I have only seen Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo with the same ability and potential.

Greenwood will get where Rooney got to, as well.

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Talk to people at United and they tell you of a humble, quiet lad, who works hard and has been a dream for the coaches at all levels to work with.

A young Ronaldo grew into the world’s greatest player in the time I watched him at Old Trafford.

As he and Rooney both knew, with that great ability and status, they take on a higher level of responsibility as role models.

It was a lesson Rooney seemed to keep forgetting — but it didn’t stop me praising him for what he did for the club.

There is a stronger spotlight on footballers who play for United than any other club.

One organisation that looked down its nose this week at the attention 18-year-old Greenwood was getting, devoted thousands of words to that very attention . . . no doubt in order to gain attention.

‘You need to leave him alone,’ they seemed to claim.

Erm, so why didn’t you?

Until recently, the only attention Greenwood had attracted was through his on-field exploits.

His press conference before his international debut in Iceland revealed a teenager who loved his football.

Which made his indiscretions after the game all the more surprising to those who know him.

Along with Manchester City’s Phil Foden, he had a liaison with two girls back at the England hotel, defying strict team orders and Covid-19 rules in the country.

The subsequent revelation of him inhaling nitrous oxide at an earlier date was equally worrying.

For all the pomposity of those who questioned the validity of this story, just look at the little silver canisters littering the streets.

Possession is not illegal but use can have serious side-effects.

The reaction to both stories has shaken the player, who will undoubtedly learn a very harsh lesson.

One can only imagine what level Sir Alex Ferguson would have flicked the hairdryer to after this.

Nobody is saying these young footballers shouldn’t be enjoying life but they need to do so in a safe and sensible environment.

The moment they pull on a United or an England shirt, the rules change.

That does not bar them from being lauded for their ability on the pitch or, most recently in Marcus Rashford’s case, for the great work they often do off it.

To praise them for this does not mean you are hoping they come crashing down for something else.

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