Mason Greenwood: Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer criticises England for calling up young forward

Solskjaer: "I have to be honest enough to say I tried my best to give him a rest over the summer. The club asked specifically - we pointed out he should have had a rest"

England's Mason Greenwood during the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship match at the KCOM Stadium, Kingston-upon-Hull. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 9, 2019. See PA story SOCCER England U21. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. Editorial use only in permitted publications not devoted to any team, player or match. No commercial use. Stills use only - no video simulation. No commercial association without UEFA permission. Please contact PA Images for further information 1:20
Mason Greenwood needed a break at the end of the season says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Man Utd boss criticises England for picking the forward before sending him home early.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has criticised England for selecting Mason Greenwood, insisting the Manchester United forward should have been rested this summer.

Greenwood, who turns 19 in October, was sent home by England along with Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden for breaking coronavirus protocols after the duo allegedly met two women in Iceland away from the team's bio-secure environment.

England manager Gareth Southgate described the duo as "naive", before they both issued personal apologies over the incident.

Solskjaer revealed that Manchester United requested that Greenwood, who scored 17 goals in 49 appearances during a breakthrough campaign for United last season, should be left out of the national squad to enable him to rest over an off-season period already shortened amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Image: Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he asked the FA to leave Greenwood out of England's squad

"The kid had a fantastic season," Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday's Premier League opener against Crystal Palace. "He's just come through. I've worked and the club have worked and all the staff here, we worked really hard, when we gave Mason enough time on the pitch, when we gave him exposure in the media.

"Then you come to the end of the season and we've had less than two weeks off, and he's called up to the national team.

Live Premier League

"I have to be honest enough to say I tried my best to give him a rest over the summer. The club asked specifically - we pointed out he should have had a rest. He needs in mentally and physically after that season he had.

Also See:

"First thing that happens is, one he's called up, two he's right there in the press. We've done whatever we can to protect him and I will keep on helping him. I know that when he comes back into the daily routine of the club and what we do to him - he'll be fine."

Save over 25% with NOW TV

Save over 25% with NOW TV

Catch the Premier League season on Sky Sports for just £25 p/m for 12 months - cancel anytime

Solskjaer confirmed Greenwood will be available for selection as United begin their Premier League campaign at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

United's run to the Europa League semi-finals saw their 2019/20 season extended until August 16, giving Greenwood less than three weeks before he was back in action, as he made his England debut against Iceland.

The Premier League arranged for United not to participate in the opening round of fixtures last weekend to allow them extra time to recover.

Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring against Aston Villa
Image: Greenwood scored 10 Premier League goals for United last season

"Yeah, he's part of the group," Solskjaer said. "With this testing and the COVID protocols he trained by himself for a little while, we had some tests done, and of course as soon as it was possible he was with us. He's a big part of this group and this is where he feels at home.

"We had a plan for him throughout the season and I think it worked really well, but he needed a rest.

"I looked at the interview he did for the FA the first national team game - he's talking about maybe looking back at this season when it's over, and that's actually on the first day of his new season, so we have to understand that there's an 18-year-old kid there that needs managing."

'We're looking to strengthen'

United's only signing so far this summer has been midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax, and the failure to add players in other positions has caused anxiety among some of the club's fanbase.

England winger Jadon Sancho has been repeatedly linked with a move from Borussia Dortmund to Old Trafford, and despite refusing to confirm individual targets, Solskajer says he remains hopeful that United will make more signings before the transfer window closes next month.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 0:51
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he's happy with Man Utd's transfer business so far but has to now 'play the waiting game' over bringing in other players.

"Of course we've done some business with Donny - I'm very happy, delighted to get him in," Solskjaer said.

"You know I can't say anything about other clubs' players out of respect for them - I can't speculate.

"But we understand that to get even further - one we need to develop what we have, two we're also looking to strengthen the team, of course we are. But let's just wait and see if we manage to bring anyone one in.

"I've been in dialogue with the club of course. We're always discussing, and hopefully, let's see if we can bring anyone in."

'Van de Beek, Pogba and Bruno can play together'

Solskjaer has several key selection decisions to make for his side's game against Palace, with new signing Van de Beek adding competition in the centre of midfield.

The United boss insists Van de Beek could play in a midfield three alongside Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, but warned the trio will face competition for their places.

Solskjaer believes Van de Beek is an excellent addition to Manchester United's squad.
Image: Donny van de Beek could make his United debut against Crystal Palace on Saturday

"Of course the three of them can start together," Solskjaer said. "Then again you've got Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic in midfield as well.

"So it's not just about 11 players, or three players in a squad of football.

"I'm sure we'll see them together. I'm not going to tell you if it's tomorrow."

Meanwhile, David de Gea is set to face a battle to hold onto his number one goalkeeping position, with Dean Henderson having returned from an impressive loan spell with Sheffield United.

"Goalkeeper training has been fantastic to watch," Solskjaer said. "It's so enjoyable. It's the highest possible quality you can imagine and all the goalkeeper coaches are really enjoying working with them.

"Some of the stuff is fantastic and it's going to be an interesting, interesting thing for many to follow."

Man Utd 2020/21: Can Ole reach the next level?

Manchester United stand on the cusp of a new campaign with a renewed and realistic sense of optimism that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can take them to the next level.

They may have ended 2019/20 trophy-less but an encouraging finish to the Premier League campaign has built stable foundations upon which United aim to close the gap on the champions of the previous two seasons, rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

With Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood in attack, the creativity and quality of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and new addition Donny van de Beek in midfield, and the defensive surety nurtured last season, United have the makings of a squad capable of propelling the club to new heights, now it's over to them to deliver.

Read the feature in full here.

Transfer Centre LIVE!

Summer transfer window - key dates and times

The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday October 5 with a feast of activity lined up on Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms.

A domestic-only window for deals between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on SSN and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

ONE MILLION POUNDS! Can you imagine?

ONE MILLION POUNDS! Can you imagine?

You read correctly. Do not miss your chance to scoop £1m for free in this week's Super 6 round. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.

Around Sky