Rio Ferdinand sees Mason Greenwood on the “right track” at Manchester United, with the club’s latest teenage sensation only two goals away from matching Wayne Rooney’s return from his first season at Old Trafford.
Back in 2004, the Red Devils moved to snap up one of the most exciting talents in world football.
Rooney, who opened his spell at Old Trafford with a hat-trick, would go on to find the target on 17 occasions in his debut campaign and a record-setting 253 times across 13 years in Manchester.
Greenwood is among those looking to follow in illustrious footsteps, with the 18-year-old having burst onto a senior stage in 2019-20.
The highly-rated academy graduate is starting to nail down a place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans, with a well-taken brace in a 5-2 victory over Bournemouth seeing him to 15 goals for the season.
Ferdinand is among those expecting big things from the youngster, telling BT Sport: "Greenwood, we've been speaking about this young kid, you don't want to put him on the spot too much but when he's doing things like that what he's done [against Bournemouth], you've got to give him the credit he deserves.
"He pulls the trigger so quick, they're the strikers I used to hate playing against, doesn't matter how quick you are, Jermain Defoe was another one who didn't need much time or space to pull the trigger, the confidence in his own ability from that range was phenomenal."
United legend Ferdinand added: "His first full season, 18 years old - 15 goals. Rooney in his first full season he got 17 goals.
"The kid’s on the right track.
"The game is there for him, he can do what he likes in the future. He’s got that much talent, if he keeps his head on his shoulders – which I think he will – he will be a player for many seasons to come."
Greenwood is not the only United forward to be catching the eye at present, with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford also on target against the Cherries.
The France international, who took the No.9 shirt from Romelu Lukaku last summer, has been reborn in a central striking post, with Ferdinand admitting that Martial – who netted the first senior hat-trick of his career in a recent 3-0 win over Sheffield United – looks like a “different human”.
He added after seeing the 24-year-old curl home a spectacular strike to help down Bournemouth: "I was screaming in the studio. He cuts in, takes a look and says ‘top bin, here you come’. It’s an unbelievable strike.
"He looks like a different human, a different person. He looks like he’s enjoying his football, he’s smiling again and feels confident.
"There’s a passion inside of him now. This guy is a different character under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer."