Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood will learn from his recent misdemeanours, but admits he has little sympathy for the teenager.
The 18-year-old, who enjoyed a fine breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford last season, has hit the headlines this month but not for exploits on the pitch.
Greenwood, along with Man City’s Phil Foden, was sent home from England duty for breaching Covid-19 rules at the start of September before last week “historical pictures” emerged of the striker inhaling laughing gas.
It has been a difficult couple of weeks for the Red Devils attacker, but he will hope to put that behind him when United get their Premier League term under way with a fixture at home to Palace on Saturday.
Ex-England boss Hodgson said: “I’m afraid when you make mistakes that are as big a mistake as Mason Greenwood made, you should be expected to pay some sort of price for that.
“I’m not certain sympathy is the right word. It is important he learns from the mistake, I’m sure he will, but errors of that magnitude unfortunately are going to be criticised, scrutinised and are going to be punished I guess.
“I’m just fortunate it didn’t happen on my watch, it was someone else’s problem!
“I’m not prepared to stand here and say sympathy. I’m not even really prepared to talk about age as well.
“The fact is if you are old enough to come in and hold down a regular spot at Manchester United – and you are old enough to get called up and play for England – then I’m afraid you’ve got to produce that level of behaviour that is required in those instances.”
Greenwood started for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men when they won 2-0 at Palace at the back end of last season.
It was a victory which helped United to a third-place finish, but the south Londoners have fond memories of their last trip to Old Trafford – a shock 2-1 victory last August.
Hodgson added: “They’ve brought in players of the quality of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba is back – I don’t know how fit he is but he was certainly back at full strength at the end of the season in the last period post-lockdown.
“They’ve just bought a top, top class player in (Donny) Van De Beek, so really and truly we’re facing a stronger team now at least on paper than a year ago and that’s a compliment if you like to the work Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his staff have done.”
Palace remain without a number of players for Saturday’s fixture, with summer signing Nathan Ferguson yet to make his debut since he joined on a free transfer from West Brom.
A knee injury has halted his progress at Selhurst Park, but Hodgson insisted the full-back was “making excellent progress” and reflected on the club’s transfer activity.
Ebere Eze and Michy Batshuayi have added to Palace’s options and yet they are still on the look out for another striker.
“To get the quality of player that I would think we would need, would require funds and whether those funds would be available without someone being sold I don’t know at the moment,” Hodgson admitted.
“We’ve had targets all through the window. We achieved two of them, Nathan I don’t really count because we basically signed him in January.
“The other two are ones we’ve followed and wanted and we have players still that we’ve been following and would like to pursue. I will have to wait and see if the club has the funds available to bring those players in, if we can persuade those players to come.”