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Greenwood rise has increased Euro firepower for Southgate's England

Manchester United 5 Bournemouth 2

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Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

Speaking just before the Premier League restart, Gareth Southgate admitted the decision to put the European Championship finals back a year because of the coronavirus crisis might improve England's prospects at the tournament.

A month on, the England manager's opinion is only likely to have hardened.

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe. Photo: Reuters

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe. Photo: Reuters

The most exhilarating sight, certainly from an England perspective, since the top flight's resumption has been the bewitching performances of two youngsters who play four miles apart in Manchester but who, in time, could form an  arresting alliance for their country.

Mason Greenwood, Manchester United's 18-year-old striker, again demonstrated his devastating prowess in front of goal with two sublime strikes - the first with his left, the second with his right - to crush Bournemouth on Saturday, two days after Manchester City's Phil Foden had helped to sink champions Liverpool with a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win.

Like Foden (20), Greenwood's primary focus has been to nail down a regular starting place with United but, if the pair carry on in this fashion, Southgate will soon have to figure out how best to accommodate them in his line-up, too.

From being worried about his options because of injuries to Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane in the lead-up to Euro 2020, the England manager suddenly has an embarrassment of riches in attack, which could augur well for England's hopes next summer.

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Bournemouth's Lloyd Kelly and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes battle for the ball. Photo: PA

Bournemouth's Lloyd Kelly and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes battle for the ball. Photo: PA

PA

Bournemouth's Lloyd Kelly and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes battle for the ball. Photo: PA

#Greenwood has 15 goals for the season from 19 starts and his United team-mate, Rashford, still only 22, chalked up his 20th of the campaign against Bournemouth, his best return to date, despite missing two months with a double stress fracture in his back.

Foden, a midfielder, has seven goals from 13 starts and his City team-mate, Raheem Sterling, 25, has 23 goals and is comfortably on course to surpass his best tally of 25 for a season in club football. At this rate, Kane, England's captain, could be forgiven for looking over his shoulder.

"When you play for Man United, I think that's a test that's difficult enough," Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

"If you can handle playing for Man United, then you can handle playing for any team and Mason's got the qualities that not many others have. So he could play for the England full team or Under-21s, I don't really mind. I know he's doing well for us and it's great to have him here."

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Manchester United's Paul Pogba takes a free kick. Photo: PA

Manchester United's Paul Pogba takes a free kick. Photo: PA

PA

Manchester United's Paul Pogba takes a free kick. Photo: PA

United managed just eight goals in 11 games between August and October, when serious questions were being asked about Solskjaer's failure to sign another striker following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

But his faith in Greenwood, Rashford and Anthony Martial, who also reached 20 for the season with his goal against Bournemouth, has been vindicated and, from struggling to buy a goal, United can't stop scoring.

Between them, Greenwood, Rashford and Martial have four more goals in all competitions (55) than Liverpool's feted front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.  United are rediscovering their attacking mojo, and Southgate may be one of the biggest beneficiaries.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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