Gary Neville is a huge admirer of Mason Greenwood – but believes the young striker needs Edison Cavani to restrict his opportunities at Manchester United for at least another season.
Greenwood and Cavani were instrumental in the 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday that all but confirmed United will finish in the top four.
Greenwood stepped off the bench to provide a great cross for Cavani to head his side ahead in the second half, before the teenager got on the scoresheet himself deep in injury time to seal the three points.
Former Man United captain Neville says Greenwood should go to the Euros as back-up to England skipper Harry Kane, though the 19-year-old looks set to miss out on a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
“I know I speak a lot about Mason Greenwood, but I do think he’s a different level,” Neville insisted. “His composure and finishing in the final third... I picked him in my England squad on Monday Night Football as someone who should go.
“If Harry Kane gets injured I do look at that England centre-forward position and think: ‘Who has his composure, who will do what he did in that last minute of the game?’
“I do think he can play as a centre-forward at international football, it’s whether he has enough time with only a few weeks to go.”
Neville, however, admits that Greenwood is far from the finished article, and believes the influence of Cavani will make him a better player.
The Uruguayan is out of contract in the summer, having only signed a 12 month deal when he joined from PSG on a free transfer, and it is uncertain whether he will stay at Old Trafford with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has spoken about his desire to keep the veteran, linked with a host of other strikers – including Kane.
Neville, however, says that keeping the 34-year-old would be a great piece of business, and would help Greenwood develop into a fearsome striker.
“[Cavani] scores the goal and there was a moment at the end that fans may or may not have been watching,” Neville said on the Gary Neville Podcast.
“Tottenham had a throw-in with about two minutes to go and he was moving between the centre-backs trying to stop the ball being thrown in and organising where Greenwood should be.
“Greenwood needs another year with Cavani alongside him. He needs someone like that.
“It inspired us as young players having the likes of [Bryan] Robson, [Steve] Bruce, [Eric] Cantona and you see the best players in the world, or who have been the best players in the world, like Cavani, doing his work like that in the 94th minute.
“Mason Greenwood needs good standards above him, he needs good mentors and coaching on the pitch. He needs another year of [Cavani]. [Marcus] Rashford needs another year of him. He’s been a brilliant example."
Greenwood’s form dipped this season after he exploded on to the scene, but he has registered three goals in his last four games.