Four years separate Rashford and Greenwood, with Marcus being born in October 1997 and Mason in October 2001.
Both players made their breakthrough into the first team at the age of 18, Rashford in 2015/16 under Louis Van Gaal and Greenwood this season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
In that year, Rashford exploded onto the scene, scoring eight goals and providing two assists in his 18 games for the senior side.
But in his breakthrough year, Greenwood has already surpassed Rashford’s achievement, scoring twelve goals and providing two assists in 36 appearances.
Whilst Rashford’s goals-per-game ratio is better – 0.44 goals per game as opposed to Mason’s 0.33, Greenwood has a vastly superior goals per minute ratio, scoring one every 137 minutes as opposed to Rashford’s 176.
In addition, Greenwood has played only 757 minutes in his preferred centre forward position (46% of total playing time), scoring most of his goals from the right wing, whereas Rashford played 96% of his games as the central striker.
The younger star has also provided double the number of assists already than Rashford produced in 2015/16.
Of course, Greenwood’s first season is not yet complete and the youngster could improve even further on those figures in the run-in, with nine Premier League games and up to eight cup games left to play. It is even possible that the Bradford-born player could reach 20 goals in his first season, an incredible achievement for an 18 year old.
Even Wayne Rooney, who played 34 games for Everton at the same age, only managed nine goals in the 2003/04 season at a rate of a goal every 329 minutes. Lionel Messi scored eight at the same stage with a goals per minute ratio of 176 – the same as Rashford’s.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been very careful to limit Greenwood’s exposure to too much football at such a young age and these figures suggest that the Norwegian has got it absolutely right so far.
Statistics are just that, of course, but if Greenwood continues to progress at the same level, Manchester United surely have a future Ballon d’Or winner on their hands.
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