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Rio Ferdinand warns Manchester United about potential burnout for Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood

Rio Ferdinand has warned Manchester United not to over-play teenage striker Mason Greenwood.

The Reds academy product has appeared in 20 of the club's 25 Premier League games this season, playing for 493 minutes in total.

Greenwood has also featured in 12 games in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League, scoring 10 goals across all competitions.

But Ferdinand has told his former club that they should be wary about burning the youngster out. 

The former United centre-back used the example of Michael Owen, who subsequently struggled with injuries after making a fast start to his career at Liverpool.

"The kid [Greenwood] is a fantastic goalscorer," Ferdinand said at the launch of BT's 4-3-3 Home Nations campaign.

"All through the youth levels as a kid, he's always found it easy scoring goals. He plays off both feet – he's a fantastic talent, but he needs to be nurtured correctly.

"You can't expect him to come in and play every game just because there's an injury to Marcus and then put it all on his shoulders.

"A good yardstick is to look at someone like Michael Owen. He came through as a 'boy wonder', huge expectations [on him] and he played far too many games from a young age.

"I think that was a big factor in him having big injuries later on in his career, slowing him down. That's something to look at, to make sure we don't have the same mistake with Mason - nurture him the right way.

"It [coping with the pressure] is difficult if he's got no one around him with the experience to guide him,

"You just hope he's got players or staff in there that can help him and guide him through that period and allow him to understand the pressure isn't [on] him. He's too young.

"There's other players in there that can take on that pressure on their shoulders and are experienced enough to do that. It's up to other people to do that."

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