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Mason Greenwood in line to feature for Manchester United in Europa League

:Headline: Mason Greenwood in line to feature for Manchester United in Europa League:
The Old Trafford giants are preparing to kick-off a gruelling European campaign at home to Astana.
PA | 26d

Mason Greenwood will spearhead a young Manchester United side in Thursday’s Europa League opener against Astana, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer calling the 17-year-old one of the best finishers he has ever seen.

After two years back at European football’s top table, the Old Trafford giants are preparing to kick-off a gruelling Europa League campaign at home to the perennial Kazakhstan champions.

United lifted the trophy when they last played in the competition in 2016-17, when manager Jose Mourinho’s side bulldozed their way through to the final with an experienced squad.

Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood has been backed by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Martin Rickett/PA)

The inclusion of Greenwood is most eye-catching, having been confirmed as a starter after four substitute appearances this season.

“He is still very young, Mason, but he’s maturing,” Manchester United manager 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.

“Work hard, close down because when the ball lands in your feet I know you’re going to score anyway. I know you’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.

“It must be one of the biggest games of their careers for some of these players, but I want it to be a memorable one for our players as well and Mason is one of them.”

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to give youth a chance (Martin Rickett/PA)

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

“It’s a process and for these, we trust them,” the United boss said.

“It’s for them to grow as players but also human beings – that responsibility of being robust enough to go out at Old Trafford.

“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.

Axel Tuanzebe will face Astana (Martin Rickett/PA)

“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.”

Solskjaer 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.

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1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
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4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool88002061424
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
3Arsenal84311311215
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
5Chelsea84221814414
6Crystal Palace842288014
7Burnley8332119212
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
10Bournemouth83231313011
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
17Southampton8215815-77
18Everton8215613-77
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
20Watford8035420-163
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