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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Mason Greenwood to lead Manchester United's youth revolution in Europa League

Teenager set to start against Astana, with manager Solskjaer hailing the striker as 'one of the best finishers I've seen'
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that striker Mason Greenwood is ready to play in the Europa League. AFP

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hand promising striker Mason Greenwood a chance to lead a Manchester United youth revolution in the Europa League on Thursday.

United manager Solskjaer believes Greenwood is one of the best finishers he has ever seen and he will give the 17-year-old his opportunity to shine when Astana visit at Old Trafford.

Greenwood has made four substitute appearances this season, but Solskjaer told reporters on Wednesday that the English teenager would start against the Kazakhstan champions.

"He is still very young, Mason, but he's maturing," Solskjaer said. "He's developed so much in the last six months since I came in.

"I remember the kid who just wanted to play with mates in the Under-18s. And now he's knocking on a door, he's ready to play these games.

"For me, he has been in the Under-21s with England, he's tasting it more and more. And his appetite for football must be growing.

"I just don't want to put too much pressure on him, apart from go out there and enjoy yourself.

"I know he'll make the right finish. Keeper might make a fantastic save but he's one of the best finishers I've seen.

"It's just that enjoyment, express yourself, go out at Old Trafford because there'll be 11 Astana players living the dream tomorrow."

Solskjaer intends to change tack as his side embark on their Europa League journey as the manager focuses on the youth at his disposal.

He confirmed academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe, 21, will be in the line-up against Astana, 28 months since last starting a match for United at Old Trafford.

A knock sees Daniel James join Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw on the sidelines, with Fred coming into midfield and back-up goalkeeper Sergio Romero getting the nod ahead of David De Gea.

"It's a process and for these, we trust them. It's for them to grow as players but also human beings – that responsibility of being robust enough to go out at Old Trafford," Solskjaer said.

"It's not just about enjoying yourself because you've got to get results.

"And if you don't throw them in you don't know what you've got so, for me, I don't see this as any other way of doing this because I've always done this wherever I've been.

"I've not been too many places but that's my belief as a coach that you have to give them a chance, an opportunity.

"Especially forward players. They'll win you games. Defenders it's a shift, find a way to win a game and keep them out."

Meanwhile, Victor Lindelof has signed a new long-term deal with the club. Having finally got David De Gea's extension over the line on Monday, United have announced a new and improved contract for the Sweden international.

Lindelof was linked with Barcelona over the summer but has ended any such talk by committing his future to the Old Trafford giants, signing a deal until 2024 with the option of a further year.

"Since the day I arrived at United it has felt like home," he said. "I have grown significantly both as a player and as a person in the last two years and for that I am grateful to everyone at the club for their help and support.

"I'm still young and know I can improve further but with the help of the boss and his coaching staff, I believe that only good things are ahead for this great club."

Lindelof joined from Benfica £30.75 million (Dh141m) deal in 2017 and endured a tough first campaign at United.

But last season, the 25-year-old kicked on and was runner-up to Luke Shaw in the club's Player of the Year voting.

Updated: September 18, 2019 07:54 PM