By 90Min
July 22, 2019

Pre-season friendlies aren't always the most exciting of affairs, but they do provide supporters with the chance to take a closer look at some of the young prospects who have been making waves at youth level.

Three players who have been causing a stir so far this summer are Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah, Tottenham's Troy Parrott and Manchester United's Mason Greenwood. The trio have impressed while on tour with their respective clubs, but who looks to be the pick of the bunch?

Here's a comparison of all three forwards, taking into account a variety of factors that will help us to decide which prospect currently stands up above the rest.


Shooting

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All three boast impressive records in front of goal at youth level and, on paper, there isn't a whole lot to separate them in this category. Parrott bagged 20 goals in 30 appearances during 2018/19 and Nketiah - who spent the majority of the season in and around the first team at Arsenal - bagged 11 in 20.

However, it's Greenwood who rises to the top in this category, not only because he boasts the most prolific record in front of goal, but also because he is capable of scoring from just about anywhere in the final third - with both feet.

There's no denying that all three youngsters are lethal in front of goal, but Greenwood's tally of 26 goals in 2018/19, many of which were long-range screamers, means he is the most deadly right now.


Passing

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Troy Parrott is the most traditional 'number nine' striker out of the group, so he hasn't had to rely on his passing ability too much in the past, with his incisive movement off the ball being one his biggest attributes instead.

Nketiah, who often finds himself drifting into wide areas, has shown plenty of promise for the Gunners, but he has been guilty of lacking a cutting edge in the final third during his first team appearances, which is the biggest area of his game that requires refinement.

That leaves Greenwood, who frequently drops into a deeper role in between the lines to dictate the ebb and flow of matches and bring his teammates into proceedings with an impressive range of passing.


Dribbling 

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Dribbling is an important part of any modern striker's armoury, but it's not necessarily essential - depending on how they operate within a cohesive unit. Parrott, as touched upon earlier, tends to spend more time off the ball, making room for himself to make an impact on a game with one or two touches.

Greenwood's dribbling ability is one of his biggest strengths, as he has proven that he is capable of filling pockets of space, dragging opposition defenders out of position before delivering a killer ball in the final third.

However, Nketiah shines through in this category, based on his combination of tricky footwork and explosive pace. The Arsenal man is the most direct of the trio as he frequently stands up defenders in wide areas before driving past them into dangerous areas and he maintains close control in tight areas to maintain possession.


Physical Attributes

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Parrott - the youngest of the three having only recently turned 17-year-old - is still a little weak when it comes to holding the ball up in the final third, but frequent first team football should help to improve that side of his game.

Meanwhile, Greenwood is not necessarily a 'strong' player in the traditional sense, but his balance on the ball makes it very difficult for defenders to take the ball away from him and allows him to get involved in deeper build-up play.

20-year-old Nketiah is unsurprisingly the most well-rounded in a physical sense, as he is able to use his strength and blistering pace to breach defences with impressive regularity. He's also proven to be decent with his back to goal, holding off defenders before bringing teammates into the fray.


Potential 

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Parrott is a raw talent right now, but he is set to become a regular for Spurs' Under-23s next season and, if he acts as an understudy to Harry Kane going forward, then he could easily make the step up to the first team.

Nketiah has plenty to work on next season - his composure in the final third being the most pressing - but he has shown signs of improvement already during pre-season and looks to be the most promising talent to have come through the ranks at Arsenal in recent years. There's no reason why he can't earn more regular minutes next season.

While the others have the potential to develop into top-class players, Greenwood could very well become world-class. He plays with wisdom beyond his years and appears to have already worked his way into Ole Gunnar Solkjaer's plans for next season. 


Overall

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After looking at each player's current shooting, passing abilities, as well as their physical attributes and potential, Manchester United's Greenwood appears to be the pick of the bunch.

Of course, that isn't to say that both Parrott and Nketiah aren't outstanding prospects. They are two incredibly bright talents that are on course to make the next step up at Tottenham and Arsenal, and it must also be remembered that each player's development depends on the way they are integrated into the first team setup at their respective clubs.

However, Greenwood looks like the real deal and, given the direction United have been heading in over the past few years, there is plenty of exception on his young shoulders to help lead the Red Devils into a new era.

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