Michael Owen believes Manchester United need to find their next Wayne Rooney, suggesting that Mason Greenwood could be the man to follow in the club's legendary former striker's footsteps.
Greenwood has been a bright spark for United during another frustrating Premier League campaign, proving himself on the biggest stages after being asked to step up following Romelu Lukaku's move to Inter last summer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned to Greenwood to provide much-needed support for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in the final third, and has been richly rewarded for his faith in the teenage forward.
Despite most of his 35 appearances in 2019-20 coming from the bench, Greenwood has hit 12 goals and shown his impressive ability with both feet.
The 18-year-old has even been compared with former United striker Robin van Persie , who fired the club towards their last league title in 2013, and is already being tipped to break into Gareth Southgate's England squad.
Owen believes the Red Devils are still lacking a talismanic leader in the mould of Rooney, the club's all-time record goalscorer, but has also suggested that Greenwood could well pick up the mantle in the coming years.
The ex-United frontman told Premier League Productions : "I still think that Manchester United could do with – I know it’s impossible but if they could find that next Wayne Rooney, that next 19, 20, 21-year-old who was going to be there for the next 10 years…
"They’ve almost been getting by with [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, getting by with [Odion] Ighalo.
"These players are very good but coming to the end of their career but they probably need to find that one like a Rooney, right at the start of his career that’s going to carry them forward.
"Can it be Mason Greenwood? It might be that they use these types of players while he grows with them.
"It’s all fascinating at the moment at Manchester United, a real, interesting puzzle to solve. But I do think they’re going in the right direction."
Greenwood will likely be back in contention for a spot in Solskjaer's line-up when United resume their season with a crucial clash against Tottenham on June 19.
The coronavirus outbreak saw English football shut down for three months but remaining fixtures have been cleared to take place behind closed doors following an easing of lockdown restrictions across the country.
United are fifth in the table at the moment, three points behind Chelsea, and cannot afford any slip-ups as they look to secure a return to the Champions League.