Manchester United held tactical discussions over how best to use Mason Greenwood before the club U-turned on plans to bring him back into the fold.

The Red Devils announced on Monday that Greenwood, 21, would be leaving the club after it was claimed last week that Old Trafford chiefs were planning to reintegrate him into their first-team squad.

United executives had been conducting an internal investigation into the situation surrounding their academy graduate, who in February had charges of attempted rape, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Manager Erik ten Hag was allegedly in favour of Greenwood’s prospective return, with the Daily Mail now reporting that the Red Devils boss reached out to the young forward. The report adds that United’s analysis department had worked on how to best use Greenwood in Ten Hag’s system.

Since the 21-year-old last played for the Red Devils in January 2022, there’s been a significantly upheaval at the club on and off the pitch. Having been arrested while interim manager Ralf Rangnick was still in charge, Greenwood never played under Ten Hag and a number of his most prominent team-mates from prior to his suspension have left United.

The Red Devils’ dressing room is reported to have been slightly in favour of the once-capped England international’s return, while the majority of the club’s behind-the-scenes staff didn’t feel comfortable with the notion that Greenwood would be back in the fold. His charges were dropped six months ago following the “withdrawal of key witnesses,” the CPS said.

United say that they’ll now help Greenwood continue his career “away from Old Trafford” after it was previously claimed that club executives – led by CEO Richard Arnold – were preparing an announcement for the player’s return, a suggestion which prompted public backlash.

Greenwood wrote in a statement: “Today’s decision has been part of a collaborative process between Manchester United, my family and me. The best decision for us all is for me to continue my football career away from Old Trafford, where my presence will not be a distraction for the club. I thank the club for their support since I joined aged seven. There will always be a part of me which is United.

“I am enormously grateful to my family and all my loved ones for their support, and it is now for me to repay the trust those around me have shown. I intend to be a better footballer, but most importantly a good father, a better person, and to use my talents in a positive way on and off the pitch.”.

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