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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer likens Mason Greenwood to young Wayne Rooney

Greenwood became Man Utd's youngest-ever scorer of a double in Europe with two goals in Thursday's demolition of AZ Alkmaar

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is not scared to start Mason Greenwood in the Premier League after he scored twice in Manchester United's 4-0 Europa League win over AZ Alkmaar.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mentioned Mason Greenwood in the same breath as a young Wayne Rooney after the teenager inspired Manchester United's Europa League victory against AZ Alkmaar.

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With progress to the knockout phase already assured, the Reds overcame a sloppy start to secure a thumping win that sealed top spot in Group L and a place among the top seeds in Monday's draw.

Greenwood was the star of the show at Old Trafford, where his fine, low strike swiftly followed Ashley Young's second-half opener.

The 18-year-old won the penalty converted by Juan Mata, before wrapping up a comprehensive 4-0 win with another stunning strike, becoming the youngest player to score two goals for United in major European competition.

Mason Greenwood scored United's second
Image: Mason Greenwood is the youngest player to score a brace in major European competition for Manchester United, aged 18 years

"I've probably said it all before, so it's nothing new - that's what he does," former striker Solskjaer said of Greenwood.

"And tomorrow he'll probably go in training and score a few more. He's always done it. That's just natural for him.

"He's a natural footballer but the closer he gets to goal, the more dangerous he is.

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"Right foot, left foot - nightmare probably for defenders. He needs to develop his heading then he can be a proper striker."

Image: Only Marcus Rashford (13) has scored more goals than Mason Greenwood (6) in all competitions for Manchester United this season.

Asked if he had seen anyone as good at the same age as Greenwood, who only turned 18 in October, Solskjaer said: "I've seen a few good young players. I played with Wayne Rooney, but in terms of natural finishing, Mason is one of the best I've seen."

Solskjaer was quick to point out Greenwood is a different type of player to Rooney, but just like United's all-time top scorer his potential was clear long before he turned 18.

"There was never any question of him going on loan," the Norwegian said. "That decision was made early on in pre-season, or even towards end of last season.

"I knew we had got a top talent there and I think this club is the best at recognising that and, for me, developing talent like this. There's no better place for him to be than here."

Solskjaer praised Greenwood throughout United's tour of Australia and Asia, while his six-goal haul for the side this season underlined his quality - albeit just one of those have so far come in the Premier League.

"He played against Tottenham and he was class," he said. "I'm not afraid of playing him in the Premier League. Not at all.

"But it's about sharing the minutes and finding the right minutes for him. Of course he is ready to play in the Premier League."

Notebook: Man Utd's 4000-game landmark

Manchester United will celebrate 4000 consecutive games with an academy player in their match-day squad against Everton on Super Sunday.

Seven graduates were involved in the squad for the Manchester derby win last weekend as the club started to reflect on a record that stretches back more than 82 years.

And here, Sky Sports News' James Cooper examines the history behind the amazing statistic...

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