MASON Greenwood has spoken with Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag for the first time since attempted rape charges against the striker were dropped.
The Dutch manager phoned Greenwood days after the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued allegations of attempted rape, controlling and coercive behaviour and assault.
It was the first time Ten Hag had spoken to Greenwood, 21, since taking over as United boss last summer.
All previous contact with the club, which suspended Greenwood after his arrest in January 2022, had been through a third party.
Earlier this month we revealed how the Crown Prosecution Service had withdrawn charges of attempted rape, actual bodily harm and coercive or controlling behaviour.
It came after 12 witnesses, including the woman at the centre of the allegations, refused to co-operate.
Greenwood is still unable to play for United or train while the Red Devils carry out an internal probe.
But a source said: “Mason has spent a long time with very little — if any — contact from the club. As and when they were in touch, it was never direct and always through a third party. So for the manager to call him was a big step for him and one he really appreciated.
“The manager enquired how he was feeling physically and mentally and said he was pleased the charges had been dropped.
“He thought it was the right thing to do to get in touch with Mason.
“But he was clear it will be the club rather than him which will decide if Mason can play for United again.”
They continued: “Mason’s spirits were lifted by it. He has been at United since he was six and just wants to get back to playing football for them.
“He is happiest with a ball at his feet and wants to get his career back on track.
“But he knows the club has a massive decision to make.”
Greenwood, who earns around £100,000-a-week, is still contracted to United until 2025.
Prior to his arrest, he was valued at around £50million and regarded as one of European football’s hottest young talents.
But Manchester United’s women’s players reportedly don’t want him to return to the club.
According to reports in The Athletic, “the feeling is strong” amongst the team that Greenwood should be let go.
This feeling is reportedly even shared amongst his teammates in the men’s dressing room, who are not all in favour of having him back.
Fans are also said to be uncertain of welcoming Greenwood back to the club despite charges being dropped.
Some have even demanded that he be released from his contract.
He first kicked a ball competitively aged five when dad Andrew, 53, took him to local youth club Idle Juniors FC.
He made his debut after his sixth birthday, scoring ten goals.
United’s academy scouts offered him a place at their development centre in Halifax, West Yorks.
Greenwood was pictured with Red Devils legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who would later become his manager, at United’s Cliff training ground.
In 2018 then manager Jose Mourinho picked the 16-year-old for a pre-season US tour.
A few months later he signed his first pro contract for £800 a week.
The talented striker made his first team debut in March 2019. Prior to his arrest, Greenwood was valued at £50million.
He last played on January 22, 2022 in a 1-0 Premier League win against West Ham.
Greenwood has made 129 appearances for United, scoring 35 goals and winning one England cap.
Following his arrest he was dropped from a multi-million pound boot deal by Nike.
And EA Sports also removed him from the popular FIFA 22 video game.
Earlier this week Nike said it had no plans to work with Greenwood while United bosses are believed to be sounding out sponsors for their views on whether he could play again.