The Mason Greenwood hype is more than justified. He’s been compared to the likes of Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Daniel Sturridge but for me, he’s their Michael Owen. Not stylistically, but in terms of timing and impact.
When Owen burst onto the scene for Liverpool, the Reds hadn’t won the league in seven years. He was our next big hope and despite his young years, he delivered for us. United are seven years without a Premier League title and Greenwood’s stunning performances have resulted in their fans investing in the idea that he could fire them to glory, eventually. It might be the case. Owen helped himself to a collection of trophies while plying his trade at Anfield.
But this piece isn’t about Greenwood. It’s about how other young forwards are going under the radar having been drowned out by the noise surrounding the Manchester United youngster.
One such player is Rhian Brewster.
His goals have helped fired Swansea City into the play-offs. Since football returned, only Saïd Benrahma (7) has surpassed Brewster’s tally of five in the Championship. The Swans needed something of a miracle on the final day of the season and they got it, romping to a 4-1 away win over Reading while Nottingham Forest lost 4-1 at home to Stoke City. The scorelines meant Steve Cooper’s side edged into sixth place on goal difference and Forest missed out entirely.
Bloodyhell, Brewster. pic.twitter.com/ECuxv664u3
— David* (@chattingwham) July 22, 2020
Brewster opened the scoring with what can only be described as a worldie. The goal added a further sense of intrigue to him, too. Over recent weeks, he’s been adding to his reputation as a poacher. A large number of his goals have all been instinctive, first-time finishes. He’s proven himself to be a real fox-in-the-box type forward who doesn’t rely on huge volume to be at his best. In fact, he’s averaging just a little over two touches in the box per 90. For a bit of context, Mohamed Salah manages around eight per 90, on a good day it’s over ten.
Both of these shot maps belong to strikers aged 20 or under. Which of them do you feel is *better*? pic.twitter.com/pWma4qi5Lx
— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) July 10, 2020
Brewster lashed in a free-kick a couple of weeks back, too. His shot map shows he’s not afraid to shoot from distance but that his greatest skill is getting into excellent areas with great regularity. His post-shot expected goals map shows he’s an intelligent finisher, too, and that he’s always adding real value to his efforts with his placement. But the goal he hit against Reading was a bit of a game-changer. Knowing he has that in his locker suggests he’s far more than just a penalty box prowler, he’s an all-rounder.
Under normal circumstances, there would probably be a lot of hype surrounding Brewster after these performances. So it might be a good thing that he’s been able to do his thing without the media proclaiming that he’s the future of English football. All eyes are on Greenwood meaning the on-loan Liverpool forward can go about his business in the shadows, without the pressure or scrutiny a youngster scoring goals would usually have to deal with.