Mason Greenwood, 17, opened the scoring from close range after two minutes. Marcus Rashford added another before half-time, when manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 11 changes. Phil Jones’ powerful header made it three, and Anthony Martial’s penalty rounded off the scoring in front of a crowd of 55,274. Solskjaer’s side were without striker Romelu Lukaku, who is still to make an appearance on this trip after picking up ‘a knock’ in training on Tuesday.
The Belgian’s absence will only intensify discussion about his future. And Greenwood’s performance can only embolden the growing number of people around the Old Trafford camp who feel their position would be better served by letting Lukaku join Inter Milan, who are keen on him. Greenwood was six years of age when he first turned up at a Manchester United coaching camp in his native West Yorkshire, since when his development has been impressive.
Speaking to the English media in the team hotel on Tuesday, Solskjaer outlined Greenwood’s talents, emphasising his two-footed nature and ability to find space. “A natural finisher, a natural footballer,” was the Norwegian’s pay-off. It was encouraging to see the position Greenwood took up to tap home Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross, six yards out, in the middle of the goal. It was precisely the type of run Solskjaer, a predatory finisher himself, has been telling his forwards to make, in the belief they will increase their goal tally by up to half a dozen a season.