IT was in this competition last season that Mason Greenwood first got his big chance.
Now the teenager has to step up again and help keep Manchester United’s campaign alive as injuries start to pile up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford were already missing for this one – and Anthony Martial failed to re-appear for the second half in the 1-1 draw with AC Milan.
So Greenwood was given his chance down the middle for the second half, an opportunity he has been waiting for.
In September 2019 he scored his first senior goal for the club as he got the winner against Astana at Old Trafford.
He went on to get four more times in the Europa League last term – finishing with 17 in total in an outstanding debut campaign.
Yet for various reasons, he has not kicked on as much as Solskjaer might have hoped and the goals have dried up.
This season he has scored only four goals with just one of them coming in the Premier League.
And there has been only one since early December despite his club’s hectic schedule.
It isn’t like he hasn’t had opportunities either – starting 23 times in all competitions already.
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The problem is that he has been pushed out wide more often than not and has not been given the chances a natural finisher like him craves.
Former United stars Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher are among those who have called for him to be given a chance down the middle.
It’s not like the other forwards have been burning it up – both Martial and Cavani have both got seven goals apiece in all comps this term.
Rashford has 18 – but he too is often deployed on the flanks by Solskjaer.
This is why a new centre forward – ideally Dortmund’s Erling Haaland – is likely to be the top priority for Solskjaer this summer.
Particularly as doubts have emerged over Cavani’s future at Old Trafford in the last couple of weeks.
Yet Greenwood has the chance to save them some cash if he can stake a claim.
Once again, he did not make much of an impact in the first half – although in fairness the whole United team were weary.
Yet with the teenager in the centre, there was more zip to United’s play – taking the lead through Amad Diallo within five minutes.
To their credit, AC Milan stood firm meaning Greenwood was starved of clear chances.
But he showed great awareness in the box to whip over a cross which Dan James failed to convert at the far post.
A late dash down the right was halted by Fikayo Tomori just as the goal came into view.
United have a big week – with a top four showdown with West Ham on Sunday night followed by the return of this game and an FA Cup quarter final at Leicester.
It would be a perfect time for Greenwood to rediscover his goal touch and show Solskjaer he is ready.
He looked lively enough – what Solskjaer really needs from him is goals though.
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