Mason Greenwood returned to pre-season training at Carrington looking refreshed and ready to go after a valuable break over the summer.
The 19-year-old withdrew from England’s provisional 33-man squad for the European Championship to rest an injury that had been bothering him for several months and with fitness now fully restored he will hope to build on what was a superb end to last season.
There’s a contrast here with Marcus Rashford, who completed England’s summer in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday and will now having surgery on a shoulder problem that restricted him for most of last season. Rashford’s absence for the first couple of months of the season could hand Greenwood an opportunity.
That’s not to be critical of Rashford. As a member of Gareth Southgate’s squad for several years he was never going to turn his back on England this summer, having spent months playing with the problem for United. He would have expected to play more than the 83 minutes he did at Euro 2020, but he was also as close as you can be to being one of the players to help England win a first major tournament in 55 years.
Greenwood’s situation was different. There was no guarantee he would make the cut when the squad was reduced from 33 to 26 players and even if he had his summer would probably have been spent on the periphery, as someone who is yet to establish themselves on the international stage. As a teenager his time will almost certainly come again.
United’s £72.9million signing of Jadon Sancho this summer has thrown a potential roadblock in Greenwood’s way to get into the side on a regular basis. He’s extremely highly thought-of at the club and whether it’s on the right or at centre forward Greenwood has a long future at Old Trafford, but his immediate path to the side isn’t clear