AHEAD OF THE GAME: Solskjaer has asked England to delay Greenwood pick

AHEAD OF THE GAME: Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has asked England to DELAY Mason Greenwood’s return to the international fold due to concerns over pressure and workload

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has intervened over Mason Greenwood’s England return
  • The Man United manager believes the youngster needs to be handled with care
  • Meanwhile, England’s Jude Bellingham is the focal point for a fierce bidding war
  • And the EFL has identified clubs that it believes are in financial danger

Mason Greenwood will be a notable absentee when Gareth Southgate names his England squad for October’s World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary next week, following an unusual request from Manchester United.

Southgate is eager to recall Greenwood for the first time since he was sent home, along with Phil Foden, for breaking the FA’s Covid-19 protocols by inviting visitors back to the team hotel in Iceland last September.

But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has asked the England manager to delay Greenwood’s international return. The 19-year-old has made an impressive start to the season for United, scoring three goals in six appearances, but Solskjaer believes — given Greenwood’s experience with England, his international career needs to be handled with care.

England manager Gareth Southgate (R) had been keen to incorporate Mason Greenwood again

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Greenwood’s international career needs to be handled with care

There are concerns at Old Trafford that another England call-up at this stage would put the teenager under increased pressure and scrutiny, at a time when he is still establishing himself at United, as well as adding to his workload.

Greenwood’s situation is potentially complicated by interest from Jamaica, whom he remains eligible to represent through his parents until he has made three competitive appearances for England, but that is not a factor in his non-selection.

The player and his family have reassured the FA that he wants to play for England and his return to the squad is viewed as only a matter of time. Greenwood will not be considered for Under 21 selection because Southgate sees him as a senior player.


Premier League leaders Chelsea can claim the title of the most Covid-secure club in the country as they are the only ones checking the status of every fan who attends matches at Stamford Bridge.

Rather than using spot-checks, Chelsea are asking all home and away fans to provide evidence of a recent negative test or double jab before they are admitted.

The level of Covid security at other clubs varies, with Everton and Brighton among the most rigorous.


Jude Bellingham is at the centre of a bidding war among agencies eager to sign him up, in anticipation of the England midfield player completing a £100million-plus move from Borussia Dortmund to a leading Premier League club at some point over the next few years.

Borussia Dortmund teenager Jude Bellingham (C) is earning plenty of attention from agents

The 18-year-old’s £25m move from Birmingham City to Dortmund was executed by Pitch International, but that contract has lapsed and his day-to-day activities are being handled by his father Mark, a former police officer who was also a prolific striker at non-League level for Stourbridge and Sutton Coldfield.

Mark Bellingham is among the most respected of the many footballing fathers currently guiding their sons’ careers and it is unclear whether he is looking to bring in outside help at this stage.


The Premier League’s failure to sign off a new owners’ charter introducing stiff penalties for any club who seeks to leave the competition is of little concern to the 14 not involved in the defunct European Super League.

They have already noticed an alteration in the balance of power in the top flight following the collapse of the project last April. There was a significant shift in the mood at the clubs’ first regular in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic in London this week.

Several executives noted that the Big Six did not arrange an informal pre-meeting to agree a co-ordinated strategy, as had become customary over the last few years. 

With the threat of leaving to join a Super League off the table, the Big Six are no longer able to dictate Premier League policy and dominate the agenda.


EFL chief executive Trevor Birch has begun circulating a watch-list of clubs in danger of following Derby into administration to his fellow board members every month.

The latest list includes those perennial strugglers Oldham, Swindon, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham and Reading, with the latter set to emulate Derby in the near future by being docked points for breaching the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules.

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