Aged just 18 years and 72 days, Mason Greenwood has become the youngest Manchester United player to score a brace for the club in a major European competition.
The Red Devils striker bagged two second-half goals against AZ in the Europa League on Thursday as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side strolled to a 4-0 win.
That victory has seen United finish top of Group L after claiming four victories, one draw and one loss throughout the group stage.
Solskjaer’s side struggled early on at Old Trafford against their Dutch opponents as the first 45 minutes ended goalless.
But after Ashley Young broke the deadlock from a tight angle in the 53rd minute, the floodgates would open as the Red Devils struck four times in just 11 minutes.
Greenwood would bag two of those goals, first with a low-driven effort from the top of the box, before also firing home at the near post only six minutes later.
“Every time he plays, he scores,” Juan Mata told BT Sport post-match when asked about Greenwood.
“In training, he might not touch the ball a lot but he is a finisher and a killer in the box. He is a nice kid and I’m very happy for him.”
The 18-year-old has now struck four times in the Europa League this season to take his overall tally to six goals from 18 appearances in all competitions.
Only Marcus Rashford has scored more goals for United this season, despite the fact Greenwood has largely been used off the bench in the Premier League.
Speaking prior to the match, Solskjaer stressed he intends to keep a path open at the Red Devils so talents like Greenwood are able to progress.
“There is always a path at Man United, if you’re good enough you’ll get your chances,” he said. “If you train hard enough and you do well in your [youth] teams you’ll get a chance.
“There will be loads of boys who have been playing with Mason and Brandon [Williams] over the years and they’ll be looking at them thinking, ‘Well if they can do it, why can’t I?’
“You just have to keep going and that’s what we want. We want to show the youngsters that there is a way to get through [to the first team] but you’ve got to earn it.”
On Thursday, a number of academy products were given the chance to shine with Greenwood included in the starting side alongside Williams, James Garner and Axel Tuanzebe.
Tahith Chong and Ethan Laird would then also be brought on as substitutes as Solskjaer lived up to his word of giving younger players some first-team minutes.
The Red Devils have now won three straight matches and next face struggling Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday night.