Manchester United wonderkid Mason Greenwood has been given a word of caution from Premier League legend Alan Shearer, who also broke onto the scene at a young age.
Shearer went on to become one of the finest players of his generation with a great career for Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle, but he is aware of how all that fame and attention at such a young age can affect a player.
Greenwood now faces something similar as various reports, including one from the Evening Standard, suggest the 17-year-old forward now looks set to make his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal tonight.
In fairness to Greenwood, he’s shown no signs of fear so far in his outings for the United first-team, though a big league match against Arsenal is quite a step up from playing the likes of Astana in the Europa League and Rochdale in the Carabao Cup.
Speaking about Greenwood ahead of his potential big game tonight, Shearer wrote in his Sun column: “Greenwood was always going to get his chance somewhere along the season, but United have struggled so it’s not exactly like he is going into a great team.
“It’s a huge opportunity for him to stake a claim and I have no doubt he will relish it. I burst onto the scene at 17, scoring a hat-trick on my full debut for Southampton in 1988, ironically against Arsenal.
“All of a sudden you’re on the TV and the back pages of newspapers. I found it difficult after – I was no longer the kid who had scored goals in the reserves but a kid who had just scored a hat-trick on his debut against Arsenal.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken very highly of his finishing and the two he has scored have been decent goals. He will enjoy being talked about in such a complimentary way – it’s what you want. Only time will tell if he needs to be taken out of the team for a spell.”