Rio Ferdinand has tipped Mason Greenwood to emulate former Manchester United strikers Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney by making a huge impact for England at a major tournament as a teenager.
Greenwood has enjoyed a stellar breakthrough season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, netting 17 senior goals and establishing himself as one of Europe’s most exciting attacking talents.
The 18-year-old is a precocious talent, rather like Owen and Rooney were when they stole the headlines in 1998 and 2004 respectively.
And United great Ferdinand has backed Greenwood to shine for England if given the chance by Gareth Southgate in next summer’s delayed European Championships.
“Could the Euros being delayed by a year actually work out for Mason? Probably, yeah,” Ferdinand told the Sun.
“But the great players, when they’re ready, they’re ready. You don’t care about their age.
“Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney are two great examples. Owen burst on to the scene at the 1998 World Cup and Mason could do the same, given the chance.
“I love him. He’s a great talent and what I also love about him is his demeanour, his character. No matter the stage, same face, same expression, same way he carries himself.
As Ferdinand notes, the postponement of the tournament has actually benefitted Greenwood who has more time to prove his worth to Southgate on the big stage.
Greenwood has plenty to develop in his all-round game but what can’t be denied is his almost unrivalled natural finishing ability.
The teenager is a match-winner and will surely not be overlooked by Three Lions manager Southgate if he thrives again at United next season.