After a tumultuous start to the season so far, Mason Greenwood has been left out of the England setup for this international break.
The youngster made his senior Three Lions debut in September during the win over Iceland, before he was sent home for breaking quarantine rules along with fellow Mancunian youngster Phil Foden.
Both players were subsequently left out of the next squad as punishment but for this squad Foden was reinstated to the squad. Greenwood however was left out and wasn’t called up to the Under 21’s either.
England manager Gareth Southgate revealed the reason behind his absence was a phone conversation with Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær. It’s said that during the conversation, Solskjær revealed that he believed it best for Greenwood to remain the with Red Devils for the break to get back to basics.
It’s well known that Manchester United were very unhappy with England for putting Greenwood forward for a press conference prior to his debut, with the club having made a huge effort to keep him out of the limelight since his breakthrough.
Greenwood hasn’t done any press for the Red Devils unless it was in-house and that’s not a coincidence. The club want to protect him from the media and fans who are looking for a new scapegoat.
They were obviously disappointed following his rule-break in Iceland and they admitted they needed to have conversations with him. But the witch-hunt that has seemingly followed is exactly what the club were trying to avoid.
He’s since been accused of turning up late to training sessions, something the club has publicly denied, while rumours have also swirled of him breaking lockdown rules again. He has also missed fixtures through ‘injury’ while these rumours have swirled.
His performances haven’t helped stem the tide either. His only two goal so far this season wer the opener in the 5-0 win over RB Leipzig and an added time goal in the League Cup as a substitute against Brighton.
He’s struggled to create, struggled to assert himself in games and struggled to make any sort of impact at all in all honesty. It could be the pressure, it could just be a blip in form. Whatever it is though, the last thing he needed was to go back to the international scene to be scapegoated and chastised no matter what he does.
The decision to keep him at United during the break is the club’s way of protecting him. They want to get him back to ground zero and start fresh. Get him back to doing what made him so successful at the back end of last season, without all the eyes watching his every move.
His talent is undeniable and it’s been proven he can perform at the highest level. He will get back into the squad at the earliest convenience but the Reds are absolutely doing the right thing and it’s something we don’t see enough in football.
They’re looking after Greenwood, the person. They’re putting the human over the football right now and it’s admirable.