Sir Jim Ratcliffe refuses to rule out Mason Greenwood return at Manchester United

Mason Greenwood in action for Getafe

Sir Jim Ratcliffe stopped short of ruling out Mason Greenwood’s return at Manchester United as he said he needs to make “a fair decision” reflecting the club’s values.

Greenwood has been playing regularly at La Liga club Getafe since United said in August he would “rebuild” his career elsewhere after rape charges were dropped.

The situation, along with a decision on the future of Jadon Sancho, was put to Ratcliffe as he spoke to journalists for the first time since securing his 28 per cent stake in the club.

When asked if a fresh decision would be made on Greenwood, Ratcliffe said: “Yes, absolutely. We will make a decision and we will justify it.”

Richard Arnold, then chief executive, was previously criticised over his handling of the internal investigation into Greenwood, which drew criticism and led to some calls for his resignation after United backtracked on plans to bring the striker back into the first-team squad.

The expectation was he would not play for United again, but Ratcliffe stopped short of saying that.

“He’s a Manchester United footballer so we are in charge of football,” Ratcliffe said. “So the answer is yes, we have to make decisions. It’s quite clear we have to make a decision. There is no decision that’s been made.

“He’s on loan obviously but he’s not the only one. We’ve got one or two footballers that we have to deal with and we have to make a decision on, so we will do that.

“The process will be: understand the facts, not the hype, and then try and come to a fair decision on the basis of values which is basically is he a good guy or not, and answer could he play sincerely for Manchester United, would we be comfortable with it and would the fans be comfortable with it.”

Greenwood’s contract runs up to 2025. He was arrested for attempted rape and assault allegations in 2022, but charges were dropped in February last year.

Mason Greenwood in action for Manchester United in 2022
Greenwood's contract at United runs up to 2025 - AFP/Paul Ellis

Ratcliffe said: “I can talk about the principle. I am not going to talk about Mason. I am familiar with it. The principle is the important one. We will have other issues going forwards. You are dealing with young people who have not always been brought up in the best circumstances, who have a lot of money and they don’t always have the guidance they should have. What we need to do when we have issues like that is understand real effects, not the hype, then we need to make a fair decision in the light of the club’s values. That’s what we need to do and that’s how we will deal with it.”

Senior Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, who chairs the women and equalities committee, has previously expressed concern at Greenwood continuing his career in top-level football.

Ratcliffe was also cautious about giving his verdict on Erik ten Hag as manager.

“I’m not going to comment on Erik ten Hag because I think it would be inappropriate to do that. But if you look at the 11 years that have gone since David Gill and Sir Alex [Ferguson] have stepped down, there have been a whole series of coaches, some of which were very good. And none of them were successful, or survived for very long. And you can’t blame all the coaches.

“The only conclusion you can draw is that the environment in which they were working didn’t work. And Erik’s been in that environment. I’m talking about the organisation, the people in the structure, and the atmosphere in the club. We have to do that bit. So I’m not really focused on the coach. I’m focused on getting that bit right. And it’s not for me to judge that anyway. I’m not a football professional.”