Mason Greenwood compared to Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs
Nicky Butt compared Manchester United teenage sensation Mason Greenwood to club legend Ryan Giggs for the way he's "carrying the baton" for the club's other youngsters.
The 18-year-old forward has scored seven senior goals this season after being promoted to the first team by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It has been a rapid rise for Greenwood, who had been earmarked for success from a young age, but Butt — who came through United's youth ranks just after Giggs in the 1990s — believes young players need an inspiration. Greenwood is doing what Giggs did, Butt told MEN Sport in an exclusive interview.
“It’s always someone’s turn to carry the baton for the academy for a few months or years," said United's head of first team development, who coached Greenwood in his previous role of academy boss.
Butt named Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford as the players who previously had the Giggs role of setting an example to other youngsters.
He added: "It was Jesse a few years ago, then it was Marcus and now it’s Mason. Hopefully it’ll be someone else pretty soon.
Butt then recalled his own emergence into the first team, alongside fellow Class of 92 legends David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary and Phil Neville, after Giggs had been the first to break into the senior set up.
The six would go on to become the spine of a hugely successful United side, culminating in their 1999 Treble triumph.
He added: “It happened back in our day with Ryan first and then us lot, then it was Wes Brown, Darren Fletcher’s turn and so on.
“Now it’s Mason’s and the good thing about it is there’s so many around him. He’s not on his own. You might get the attention for a few months when you’re carrying the baton, but someone will come in and take the baton off you and it’s their turn."
Butt believes Greenwood is an inspiration to youngsters in the club's academy who are desperate to follow in his footsteps.
"It gives you hope [as a young player]," he said on the impact Greenwood is having.
"Because no matter how good these young players are — like we had Ryan and Mason’s had Marcus — you know there’s a chance for you. If one person’s done it from the academy, everyone else can do it.
"That’s all you can ask for as a young person in any life. Hope to get a chance, whether that’s in the working environment or in football, if you believe there’s a chance for you, you’ll work your socks off from dawn till dusk."