Why Mason Greenwood has had a good season
Mason Greenwood in action against Leicester City | Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney was the last Manchester United teenager to score 15 goals in a season in 2004/05 before Mason Greenwood came around. 

The United graduate managed to end his first full season with 19 goals and three assists, which was a tremendous return, especially since he started just 26 games throughout the campaign. 

While the goals have dried up this year for Greenwood, scoring just five in all competitions, it has been a season of development for the youngster. 

The reason behind the lack of goals

Last season, the clinical nature that Greenwood had in front of goal was incredible. His 10 goals in the Premier League came from an expected goals (xG) of just 3.39. He was vastly over-performing against his xG. 

However, this wasn't only due to luck, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously claimed that the teenager is one of the best finishers he's ever seen. 

But, even though Greenwood has underperformed against his xG this season, his goalscoring form can also be put down to a change in role. While he operated from the right flank last season too, the emphasis put on holding the width is higher this season for Greenwood, and he also has improved his defensive workrate.  

Even so, Greenwood has still been wasteful in front of goal on multiple occasions this year, but that doesn't necessarily mean he hasn't improved his all-round game.

Improving his all-round game

Last season, even though Greenwood was in brilliant goalscoring form, it was apparent that he would rarely impact the game if he couldn't find the back of the net.

This year, it is a completely different story, where Greenwood has had many great matches where his all-round game was brilliant but he was unable to find the back of the net. 

For example, Greenwood provided two great back-to-back individual performances against Southampton and Everton at the beginning of February, without putting the ball in the back of the net.

Solskjaer was full of praise for Greenwood after the Everton draw. He told the club website: “Ah, Mason was different class, “I thought he was the standout performer on the pitch [against Everton]. He just didn't get the goal that his performance deserved."

He added: “I think the last few games, if you look at him closely – yeah, I know we scored nine against Southampton – but if you look at his performance, I thought his performance was top.”

Greenwood is not simply a goalscorer, but his all-round game has developed a lot in the past year. He is now much more comfortable at holding the ball up and linking the play - which will be very useful in his eventual transition into the centre-forward role.

One particular area which Greenwood has improved at is his danger from the wide-area in the attack. He used to need to be closer to goal, but he now utilises a great cross, cutting in from the right-hand-side which can cause major problems for the opposition. He also has the ability to take the ball on the outside and fire in a cross with his right foot. 

According to FBRef, in the Premier League, Greenwood is crossing an average of 1.6 times per match, almost double than he was last season.

While the teenager definitely needs to find his finishing touch once again, this season has been one filled with development for Greenwood, in all aspects of his game. 

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