GOOD NEWS: Greenwood hints on his eventful career and opens up on possible Sunderland Return

Sam Greenwood, a recent addition to Middlesbrough, has only started four senior league games in his short career and has only been 21 years old.
The attacker moved from his hometown club Sunderland to Arsenal at the age of just 16. A year later, Greenwood was offered his first professional contract with the Emirates following an outstanding debut season at the Under-18 level in north London and after scoring 12 goals in 14 games for England’s Under-17 team.

After a year, Manchester United and AC Milan began to show interest, but Greenwood, who was only 18 at the time, decided to join with Leeds United. The manager, Marcelo Bielsa, is referred to as a “genius” by the young Argentine forward.

However, Jesse Marsch entered the picture as things started to go south for Bielsa at Elland Road and threw a curveball by attempting to convert Greenwood, a striker and forward throughout his youth, to a center midfielder.

Both Marsch and Leeds failed to survive in the Premier League. The Whites decided Greenwood, who was on the periphery of their first team after last season’s relegation and the hiring of Daniel Farke this summer, could go out on loan, which brought him back to not too far from where it all began. “It’s really nice to be back in the North East,” the forward said after completing a season-long loan move to Boro on the penultimate day of the summer window.

“I am overjoyed. I’m quite excited because I know how big of a club this is because I’m from the North East. It’s so good to have my family here to support me and all the extra help.

Michael Carrick, who had to reassemble his forward line because of Boro’s humiliating 2-0 loss to QPR last weekend, was drawn to Greenwood’s versatility. Greenwood made his debut off the bench.

While in charge of Leeds, Marsch may have utilized Greenwood in a deeper role, but the new addition to Boro’s roster has no intention of playing in the midfield.

He claims that his “actual position is a striker or a 10,” two areas that Boro wanted to bolster over the summer.

I enjoy shooting from wherever in the box, taking set pieces, and doing both footwork and creating scoring opportunities.

“He (Marsch) saw something different with my passing range when I played midfield and said I was good at counter pressing, so that’s why he put me there,” the player remarked. However, I prefer to be in the front and anywhere near the top.

Even if you don’t realize it at the time, playing in different positions can be beneficial. Playing at such a high level out of position (in midfield) I think helped me a little bit on the ball.

As a high school student, Greenwood’s play caught the attention of several top clubs. Recently, Sunderland was successful in signing young athletes like Chris Rigg and Tommy Watson to contracts.

“Arsenal came in for me and at the time Sunderland were a little bit struggling so I got sold,” explains Greenwood.

“It might be difficult to move away at that time, away from your family, especially for someone like me who had never really left the North East. But I eventually grew accustomed to it and relished the experience.I was working out with the first team toward the end of my tenure at Arsenal. The Under-23s were coached by Freddie Ljungberg, and (Per) Mertesacker served as the academy’s director of coaching. It was excellent.

The young boys responded well to someone like Rob Holding.

Greenwood declares, “It was incredibly difficult, but I would say Bielsa is a genius at what he does.

He maintains a respectful distance from the players and his knowledge is astounding, despite not being particularly close to them. Training is really intense. To survive each day, you must possess an incredibly strong mental fortitude.

“I’ve enjoyed my stay at Leeds very much. It’s full of wonderful individuals, and people like Kalvin Phillips really took care of new lads, especially little lads, and I’ve really enjoyed it. We experienced many highs and lows.

But right now, I’m simply thrilled to be a Middlesbrough player. I am aware of the size of this club and their enormous fan base. I’m eager to go.

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