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Ole Gunnar Solskjær defends media 'target' Mason Greenwood after illness

Jamie Jackson
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is not concerned that Mason Greenwood is “making a target” of himself, the manager stating that this comes with the territory of playing for Manchester United. The manager revealed the 19-year-old has been ill, though he is hopeful Greenwood can be available for Chelsea’s visit on Saturday.

Related: Mason Greenwood warned over discipline by Manchester United

Greenwood enjoyed a breakthrough season last year, scoring 17 goals. He made his England debut against Iceland in September but was then sent home by Gareth Southgate after the manager learned that Greenwood had invited a woman to the team hotel in breach of Covid rules.

The 19-year-old missed United’s wins at Newcastle and Paris Saint-Germain because of a minor injury but has also been warned by the club regarding his discipline. Solskjær was asked whether it is an issue that Greenwood might be making a target of himself.

“You do when you play well and I’m not concerned at all with Mason making a target of himself, because he came in, played fantastic, played against Tottenham in [his] first league game [last December], was brilliant, and kicked on,” he said. “Yeah he made a mistake with England and suddenly the whole English press go after him and that’s something we have got to look after. He’s a fantastic boy to work with.

“He’s got a good family behind him, he has had a good background in the academy and he’s a good trainer, he trains really well. We have a great record, tradition and history of bringing our players through. That means from early on you get good habits, we trust you, you can express yourselves. Mason’s come through this programme, he has done fantastic and he will be kicking on I’m sure, of course he’s a very exciting boy to work with.”

“Hopefully he’s shaken off his illness and he’ll be ready for this weekend. Mason learned a harsh lesson this summer. It’s the reality that when you do well at Man United you’ll be under the spotlight, whether it’s good or bad. The more bad decisions, the more likely you are to be followed. He’s never been an issue here in training.”

Related: Marcus Rashford's free school meals campaign 'incredible', says Jürgen Klopp

Harry Maguire and Edison Cavani were also not fit to face PSG but they, like Greenwood, are in contention for Chelsea’s visit on Saturday, meaning Cavani could make his debut.

Of Cavani, who last played in March and had to isolate on arrival in the UK, Solskjær said: “We provided him with all the facilities, a gym and a treadmill. He posted a few running sessions that he did, so there is your foundation. Now when he comes in with us he’s getting more football-like training sessions individualised and he feels more ready to train with the team and play with the team.

“He’s been very meticulous and methodical in his training and his preparation and he didn’t feel ready for PSG, he hadn’t done enough sharpness work. He’s managed that this week. Let’s see if that means he’s ready for the Chelsea game. I’m hopeful.”