Gary Neville appeared to change his mind on Mason Greenwood during the 3-0 win over Brighton, first suggesting his place was under threat and then declaring him undroppable.
Before the clash with Brighton – in which Manchester United’s midfield looked truly daunting again – Neville suggested that Manchester United’s starting XI might be decided in every position barring the right side of the attack.
“I think it is the best starting XI at this moment in time,” said Neville. “There might be a certain decision to make in the next few games between Greenwood and James on that right-hand side, depending on which team they’re playing against.
“You talk about those lads up front, they’ve got such great ability. They’ve got good composure in front of goal – I think Martial and Rashford have 14 league goals this season and Manchester United needed to find out if they were the real thing.
“I think the big difference, for me, is having Pogba and Fernandes in behind them. Even a half-decent forward with half-decent potential should be able to score goals with those two providing passes for them.
“The ability that they have, with obviously the ability that the front three have now, they should really profit and get lots of chances in games and score lots of goals.”
But then Greenwood scored a cracking goal and Neville took away those questions about whether he should share right-wing duties with James.
“I spoke earlier in the game, why Mason Greenwood? Because of that. He can operate in tight spaces, he can receive the ball on the back foot. The first part of this is brilliant,” said Neville.
“Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets it, and just pushes that pass. You have to do that against a tight defence. It might look like he has someone near him, but all of a sudden, he has that one-on-one, in the box. Defenders cannot challenge him.
“They’re not sure if he’s going on his left and he drags it back through the legs. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a master at this – one of the best – at taking it to the one side and pulling it back through the legs of the defenders. It justifies his selection on the right-hand side.
“It’s getting to the point now where it will be impossible to leave this lad out. He reminds me so much of Robin van Persie when he cuts in on that left foot off that right side. The composure, the technique.”