Man United manager Erik ten Hag is SILENCED over Mason Greenwood and refuses to comment on his dropped charges beyond a club statement, as striker faces internal investigation
- Erik ten Hag was asked about Mason Greenwood’s future at his press conference
- The Dutchman refused to comment on Greenwood’s future on Friday lunchtime
- Greenwood’s future at the club is dominating the agenda after charges dropped
Erik ten Hag has refused to get involved in the debate over Mason Greenwood’s future at Manchester United.
Greenwood, 21, is now technically able to play for United again after charges of attempted rape, coercion and assault occasioning actual bodily harm were dropped yesterday.
The United and England striker has two and half years left on a £75,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford but the club are now carefully considering whether to reintegrate him or effectively tear up his contract and pay him off.
United manager Ten Hag was asked three times about the issue at his lunchtime press briefing today but stuck to his declared intention to say nothing.
Ten Hag said: ‘I can’t add nothing. It’s… I refer to the statement of the club.’
Asked if he had spoken to Greenwood and whether he will be part of the investigation United are now in the process of conducting, he said: ‘As I said, in this moment, I can’t give a comment about the process.’
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (left) refused to answer questions about Mason Greenwood’s (right) future with the club after charges against the striker were dropped
Greenwood, 21, pictured arriving at court in November over the now dropped charges of attempted rape, assault and controlling and coercive behaviour
Finally, given that Greenwood was suspended by the club months before Ten Hag even arrived as manager, the Dutchman was asked if he had ever spoken to the player at all.
‘I can’t say anything about it,’ he said.
‘I refer to the statement of the club and at this moment I can’t add anything.’
United face Crystal Palace tomorrow at Old Trafford and Ten Hag was asked if yesterday’s development would have any impact on preparations.
‘We have always to focus on the game, no matter what, it is our job,’ he said.
‘That is why we are here. We have a lot to do against Palace. Two weeks ago, we had a bad performance at Palace. I wasn’t happy with the performance from us. It was 90 per cent focus and energy and we dropped two points. We have to avoid that tomorrow.
‘We need a better game tomorrow, a better focus in the game, but especially better conduct in the way of play because we have to beat them because that’s quite clear.’
United are considering whether to keep Greenwood at the club or terminate his contract
The club’s statement that was released on Thursday read: ‘Manchester United notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service that all charges against Mason Greenwood have been dropped. The club will now conduct its own process before determining next steps. We will not make any further comment until that process is complete.’
Greenwood himself said: ‘I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.’
The forward has not played under Ten Hag – his last appearance was against West Ham in January last year, when Ralf Rangnick was in interim charge.
But Greenwood was listed among the under-21 players in United’s Premier League squad at the beginning of the season and his profile and biography remains on the official United website.
His biography on the club website makes no mention of the charges against him with the last update mentioning a new contract until 2025 he signed in 2021 and his passing of 100 appearances for the club.
Given Greenwood – who has a £70,000-a-week contract until 2025 with the option of a further year – no longer faces charges and the prospect of a trial, there is nothing legally stopping United from re-integrating him into the squad.
Greenwood’s profile remains on United’s website despite the club having suspending him
The forward is listed alongside other United players on the first-team squad page
Greenwood was listed in the Under 21 (Contract and Scholars) section of United’s squad list for the Premier League at the beginning of the season
Man United fixtures
Premier League unless stated
Saturday Crystal Palace (H)
February 8 Leeds United (H)
February 12 Leeds United (A)
February 16 Barcelona (A)
Europa League play-off, first leg
February 19 Leicester City (H)
February 23 Barcelona (H)
Europa League play-off, second leg
Should they decide he does have a future at the club, fitness would clearly be an issue for a man who scored 35 goals in 129 matches but who has now not played for more than a year.
Well-placed sources believe United may look at paying up Greenwood’s contract and releasing him or seek to reach a financial settlement. Whether the player would have a legal argument against such a move is unclear.
Disrepute clauses are commonplace in football and employment law experts have told this newspaper that it would be difficult for Greenwood’s camp to argue that he did not bring the club into disrepute – despite no longer facing charges.
US sportswear giants Nike were quick to drop Greenwood when news of his arrest emerged and would be able to use a similar stance.
United could even seek legal action against the player, claiming that his actions left them no option other than to suspend him and triggered a subsequent drop in value.
The potential of a toxic reaction to Greenwood at grounds in the UK will also be a factor. Should United deem he has no future with the club a move abroad may be a likely escape route.
A loan switch overseas could also be on the cards. United may seek to pay the player up but retain his registration in order to attract a fee should he move elsewhere.
Greenwood was charged in October 2022 but on Thursday afternoon a decision was made by the CPS to discontinue prosecution in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
Manchester United have released a statement indicating they ‘will conduct their own process before determining next steps’ after Mason Greenwood saw charges dropped against him
The player, who has been capped once for the Three Lions, was first held in January over allegations relating to a young woman, after images and videos were posted online.
He was later suspended from United on full pay and removed from the FIFA 22 game.
A CPS spokesperson said: ‘We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review. In this case a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
‘In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case. We have explained our decision to all parties. We would always encourage any potential victims to come forward and report to police and we will prosecute wherever our legal test is met.’
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