How does Greenwood compare with Owen and Rooney as teens?

Raees

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We all know Greenwood is a talent, there is no doubt about that but out of curiosity is he as dangerous as the likes of Owen and Rooney in their teenage years? Hypothetically if there was a major tournament round the corner and Greenwood was asked to start in an England shirt, would he have the same devastating global impact that those two did?

Let's look at some stats of the three players in question...

Wayne RooneyMichael OwenMason Greenwood
2002/03: 37 games 8 Goals (16/17 Years Old)1997/98: 44 games 23 Goals (17/18 Years Old)2019/20: 47 games 17 Goals (17/18 Years Old)
2003/04: 40 games 9 Goals (17/18 Years Old)1998/99: 40 games 23 Goals (18/19 Years Old)
2004/05: 43 games 17 Goals (18/19 Years Old)1999/00: 30 games 12 Goals (19/20 Years Old) Injured.

Now before we go into a detailed analysis, lets remind ourselves of some of the things said about the likes of Rooney and Owen and their achievements..

Arsene Wenger on Rooney...

Rooney is the biggest England talent I've seen since I arrived in England. There has certainly not been a player under 20 as good as him since I became a manager here."
Rooney exploits at Euro 2004

After scoring four goals in four matches, Rooney was named in UEFA's Team of the Tournament.
England Youth Coach on Owen vs Beckham and Scholes

Ted Powell, the championship-winning coach of the England under-18 side, declared Owen to be the best of a generation of young players that included Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Robbie Fowler.
Owen wins golden boot as teenager

Owen replaced the injured Robbie Fowler as Liverpool's first choice striker in 1997–98. He won the Premier League Golden Boot and was awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Owen also finished in third place in the PFA Player of the Year voting behind Dennis Bergkamp and Tony Adams. finishing in fourth position in the FIFA World Player of the Year and European Player of the Year international awards.
Stars at World Cup 1998

After Argentina had taken a sixth-minute lead, Owen was fouled in the penalty area by Roberto Ayala and Alan Shearer equalised with the penalty kick. In the 16th minute, Owen gave England a 2–1 lead with a sensational individual goal. After beating defenders Ayala and José Chamot, he struck the ball past goalkeeper Carlos Roa from just outside the penalty box. In 2013, the goal was voted as the third-greatest in England's history. England eventually drew the match and went out of the tournament on penalties. At the end of the year, he won a public vote to be elected winner of the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year title.
Greenwood's career trajectory

Will his career trajectory be similar where we remember his youthful version with more fondness than his so called physical prime or is Greenwood a different kettle of fish and have more growth to his game than they did? and more likely to peak as a 23-27 year old rather than burn out a little once out of his teens..

My personal opinion is that injury withstanding, Greenwood has more 'range' technically and tactically than the likes of Owen and Rooney and has the potential to outperform them in the long term but due to his more languid frame, he doesn't quite have that elite physical dynamism just yet and it might take another season or two before he could take an international tournament by storm whereas Owen and Rooney were in some ways almost fully formed in terms of the physical threat they brought to the men's game.. Owen was never faster or nippier than he was as a teen (which was a huge part of his game) and Rooney was already like a grown-ass man at 16 but had the agility and speed of a man much smaller in build which made him incredibly difficult to defend against when on the run... he was also more off the cuff which made the younger Rooney more of a bigger game-changing threat in these big encounters.

Having said that, the young Rooney simply was not as clinical as Owen and Greenwood already looks more accomplished in front of goal. Question is, does Greenwood have the 'impact' young Rooney did on the flow or direction of a game? can he grab it by the scruff of its neck in the same way Wayne could?

Global comparisons...

Widening the field a little, in a global sense how highly does Greenwood rank in comparison to other teenage stars of the past (i.e. Raul, R9 etc) and how do his numbers fare?
 

Inigo Montoya

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Talent wise? He has a shed load but a bit early to compare his numbers after one season IMO.

He could smash the record book into the ground given the right service
 

roonster09

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Rooney was more than just a goal scorer, he was such a complete player. His allround game was brilliant.

There is something very special about Greenwood, the way he strikes the ball so cleanly and the quick change in direction is just so good. He will score lot of goals and if he isn't injured and stays at Manutd all his career, he will break Rooney's record.

If we have to compare them at same age, I would select Rooney for my team.

I didn't watch Owen during his early years.
 

charlenefan

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Both Owen and Rooney were more explosive whereas Greenwood has a class and a obvious efficiency about his work

Injuries permitting (and obviously keeping himself grounded) Greenwood could have a longer career at the top than both Rooney and Owen because of the difference in playing styles
 
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Good thread.

Whilst there were good strikers around when both Rooney and Owen came through, I don’t think there was the depth we have now in attacking positions (England), and so Greenwood perhaps doesn’t stand out as much as they did.

Both Owen and Rooney were more spectacular than Greenwood, Owen for pace, and Rooney for his strength.

I think Greenwood is up there in terms of talent. What’s interesting is you could argue both Owen and Rooney didn’t fulfil their potential, but one is a Balon d’or winner and England’s third highest goal scorer, the other is the record goal score for both Utd and England.
 

Raees

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Both Owen and Rooney were more explosive whereas Greenwood has a class and a obvious efficiency about his work

Injuries permitting (and obviously keeping himself grounded) Greenwood could have a longer career at the top than both Rooney and Owen because of the difference in playing styles
He's more of a centre-forward than either.. and I concur that even if he did lose something in terms of athleticism, I could envisage him still being effective due to his superior hold up play. Rare to see a player who looks like he will mature further down the line, still be so potent right now.
 

Mastadon

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Rooney was the best player for me by far. I remember his goal against us when he played for Everton and I wished we could have signed him. Wenger was right about him being the best young English talent he had seen at the time and I think he still is for me anyway. Owen was a great goalscorer as a teenager but Rooney obviously had the higher ceiling.
 

balaks

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Greenwood looks a really exciting talent but he is not at the level that Rooney was at that age. Owen also was able to prove it at the very highest level in a world cup at the age of 17/18. If Greenwood has another stellar season next year and goes onto play well in the European Championships with England then I think you can start making these kinds of comparisons. It's just a bit early right now.
 

Fredo

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Greenwood would develop into an elite striker, in the mold of RvP I would say, stats look promising but when Rooney broke through it was on a different level, that energy, tenacity.. He was just unstoppable, easily the best talent we had with Cr7 in the last 15/18 years at our club I'd say. Owen was a top marksman too but too bad injuries and bad transfer decisions ruined him.

Out of the 3, Wayne Rooney was just sublime to watch, he can finish like any elite striker, then do a 50-yard cross like scholes, then track back like a bulldozer, then clear a ball off the line, then lead a counter-attack.. It was just too many great things from a young player, I love SAF but Rooney should have easily made his world-class list...
 

Murder on Zidane's Floor

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Check out the undr the cosh episode with Kevin Campbell, talks about playing a reserve game with Rooney when he was 14.
 

VP89

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Rooney was from another planet I feel. Think Mason is deadly but both Rooney and Owen at the time had more about them.
 

Chesterlestreet

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Well enough.

But as others have said, both Rooney and Owen were freakishly good at a very early age.
 

EwanI Ted

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Rooney was ridiculous for his age but a lot of that was his physique. It's almost like he was three years older than his birth certificate suggested. He was bullying seasoned centre backs when he was 18, but equally, he was all but done aged 30.
 

sincher

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The appearances/goals stats are misleading because so many of Greenwood's apps have been short appearances as sub. His goals/minute stats are fantastic and I am sure above Rooney or Owen... despite in many games playing wide.
 

Paxi

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Greenwood and Owen have similar goal to min ratio when Owen won the golden boot. I’d say them two are the most comparable and I definitely expect Greenwood to reach the heights Owen did.

I was really impressed with Greenwood yesterday. Probably our sharpest player and made that goal. His one touch lay off inside our own box reminded me so much of van persie and showed the amazing level of composure this kid possesses. It’s amazing to think that he’s only a teenager.

I expect him to be the best striker in the world along with Mbappe and Haaland over the next decade.
 

Chesterlestreet

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I love SAF but Rooney should have easily made his world-class list...
Hah, yeah. That list.

I wouldn't take it seriously, to be blunt. Unless SAF's definition of "World Class" is "players that were bloody good and also very important to me, as I developed as a manager, but NOT Roy Keane and NO goal keepers", his (extremely short) list really makes no sense.
 

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Rooney was more complete as a player even early in his career, on one hand it limited the amount of improvement in subsequent years other than add consistency to his play compared to Mason, who still has things he can add to his game.

Owen on the other hand was shouldering more responsibility than either Rooney or Mason have had to take on at club level very early in their respective careers.
 

cyberman

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Rooney and Owen are the two best teens i have ever seen play football and I include Messi on that list.
 

slyadams

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Its a tough comparison, mainly because Rooney and Owen are completely different both to each other and Greenwood. Rooney's depth of ability was way beyond Owen, who was a very 1 dimensional player. Rooney could probably have played any position on the pitch aside from GK and CB and been varying levels of excellent. I don't think Greenwood is that, but certainly looks to be more versatile than Owen. What Greenwood might be able to be though is a more focused and clinical forward player who can be more consistent in his production. Rooney went through significant periods of feast and famine.
 

Rozay

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He’s still got two seasons as a teenager too.
 

MiceOnMeth

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All 3 are different kind of players so it's hard to compare them like for like but if I could only choose 1 of them as an 18 year old it would have to be Rooney. He was so good that he became our all time record goalscorer yet didn't even reach his full potential. His debut hat trick for us was something else you really felt he was going to become an all time great.
 

RedRonaldo

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Rooney has the whole package, you knew right away he would be generational type of worldclass player, and England future hope. In fact, I still don't think he has quite fulfilled his potential, even though he has rather long and successful career here.

For Owen, he won Ballon D'or at the age of 22 didn't he? He had a great world cup at the age of 18 too, he was a worldclass teenage sensational back then, among a few topping the goalscoring chart in Premierleague regularly.

I don't think Greenwood is at their level at the same age, although I do think he is better finisher and have better goals per mins stats. In fact he is not far behind them, he may become even better player in future (knowingly Owen fall downhill in his mid-twenties, and Rooney didn't quite reach the height of generational greatness we might have expected)

Here's my rating of the three at their teenage years:

Rooney 10/10
Owen 9.5/10
Greenwood 9/10
 
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John Blund

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Rooney was world-class at 19/20. He was so good he could fight for a place in any team at that age. His physique was immense at the time, and his skill probably didn't get much better over the years. Then again, he as well as Owen, probably were over his peak at 28. Hopefully Greenwood won't burn out that fast.
I'd take a 20-year-old Rooney in any team, any day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled about Greenwood, and I do believe he can become world-class, but he needs to work hard to continue his great development. Top scorer next season?
 

Raees

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Raul looks so good as a youngster.. movement is insane although that match shows him missing some sitters.

All 3 are different kind of players so it's hard to compare them like for like but if I could only choose 1 of them as an 18 year old it would have to be Rooney. He was so good that he became our all time record goalscorer yet didn't even reach his full potential. His debut hat trick for us was something else you really felt he was going to become an all time great.
Gave me goosebumps that hat trick. Truth be told Mason hasn’t made me feel the same way but I feel like he’s someone who will keep growing and arguably become the most complete forward of the trio (Rooney was the most complete ‘footballer’).
 

Sparky Rhiwabon

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A lot of Owen's goal scoring was due to his blistering pace. Once he lost that through injuries he wasn’t half the player. Greenwood doesn’t really rely on pace.

Also, Fowler (pre injuries again) was better than Owen imo.
 

clarkydaz

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A lot of Owen's goal scoring was due to his blistering pace. Once he lost that through injuries he wasn’t half the player. Greenwood doesn’t really rely on pace.

Also, Fowler (pre injuries again) was better than Owen imo.
Greenwood is scoring all kinds of goals and creating compared to Owen. Rooney was a raging bull imposing himself on games which is hard to match, but ability wise Greenwood looks to have a touch and finesse the others didnt
 

Jeppers7

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Greenwood will surpass both. He’s a very special talent.
 

MikeeMike

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Greenwood will surpass both. He’s a very special talent.
Agree and hope he continues to improve. We’ve had a few “stellar” players who falter when defenders work out how best to play against them. eg. Depay,Januzaj.
The fact he is so strong with either foot is a rare talent.
 

Paul_Scholes18

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Greenwood will surpass both. He’s a very special talent.
I doubt he will be that good. I hope you are right though.
Rooney was a special talent at his youth for us. A purely brilliant player very hard to stop.
If Greenwood can take us to 5 league titles and a CL title then he is surely something special.
 

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Now, this is a ridiculously high bar to set, I think that the sole current young player on the level of those two is Mbappe.

However, this does not have to mean anything, as Owen certainly did not live up to his early promise and I think that Rooney has not as well.
 

SadlerMUFC

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The biggest difference I see from Greenwood to Owen and Rooney is that the two previous teens were well known for their speed and power. Greenwood on the other hand isn't known for his speed. He is known for his two footedness (is that a word?). Funny thing is, Greenwood has actually clocked in at the fastest speed for United this year at something like 37 km/hr. So he is extremely fast. He just doesn't seem to use his speed very often. So for me, that's one part of his game that he can improve on so he can use that speed as yet another arsenal in his weaponry. Get that boy moving at top speed off the ball and he is going to be a total nightmare for people to defend against...
 

MissKatie

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Imo we can analyse until them cows come home. He's a massive talent and I'm looking forward to his future with us
 

Jeppers7

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I doubt he will be that good. I hope you are right though.
Rooney was a special talent at his youth for us. A purely brilliant player very hard to stop.
If Greenwood can take us to 5 league titles and a CL title then he is surely something special.
Rooney didn’t
 

groovyalbert

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Thing with Greenwood is although he's a teenager, you wouldn't know it by watching him.

Both Owen and Rooney exuded raw, young talent and pace. They played football like everyone at school dreams they could.

Greenwood is possibly the most intelligent player for his age I've seen at Utd. I don't think we'll see him burning out unless he has poor managers. So exciting.
 

jesperjaap

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I think when comparing them:

1) Firstly Greenwoods break out season has been virtually all played out of position on the right, so it is hard to compare against the other two who played in there best position

2) A lot of Greenwoods games, in fact pretty much all before lockdown unless I am mistaken have come from the bench, so the apperarances is a bit deceptive and makes his stats even more impressive....But I am not one for stats and for me............

As good as he has been, the other two were quite a way ahead in terms of overall performances and the impact they had. Rooney especially was an exceptional talent as a teenager and looked to be the best player since Gascoigne. I agree with somebody above who mentioned neither really reached the potential they had as good as there careers were. Owen destroyed by injuries and Rooney for me could have been up there with Ronaldo and Messi, but consistently really there was only 1.5seasons he was and he did nothing for ENgland in major tournaments after the first couple.

The other side of the coin though. Owen was all about the blistering pace and finishing, Rooney was all about the pure bolshy arrogance and powerful running on and off the ball. For me, potentially I see more ability in Greenwood than either. The touch, technique, step overs, good pace, blistering finishing off both feet. He has almost everything to be a world star, but he has a long long way to go. We have seen several wonderful players fade through injury or the wrong attitude such as Jack WIlshire, so lets hope Greenwood has as appears his head screwed on and the right ethic, as he certainly has the talent to be a huge player over the next 15years
 

Morpheus 7

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Different era's, hard to explain unless you watched them. Owen was lightning in a physically demanding league, punished teams. Rooney was the best footballer at that age. He physically was impressive and could do the lot. The raw pace and power changed games even when he didn't score. Greenwood is the most dangerous one on one when on the turn, he seems to beat a man with skill rather than raw pace like Owen. It's because he's so two footed, he's unpredictable, the Rvp comparison is good. He glides when moving but gets great backlift when striking it.

I still think Owen and Rooney were better at his age. I think with the right service Greenwood could eclipse them goalwise. Such early days, he's not over hyped though. I think Mason is the real deal but let's see how the progression goes.