Manchester United youngster Mason Greenwood would relish having Lionel Messi in the Premier League – even if that means facing the six-time Ballon d’Or winner in Manchester City colours.

City are viewed as the frontrunners for Messi’s signature after the player handed in a transfer request at Barcelona last week, although the huge finances required to secure his services represent significant obstacles to overcome.

Greenwood, who is in line for his first senior England action in the forthcoming Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark, is excited by the prospect, even if it would be so beneficial to United’s crosstown rivals.

“Obviously it’d be amazing to come up against him. All young footballers know about Messi,” the 18-year-old told a video news conference from England’s St George’s Park base.

“To be on the same pitch playing against him would be another dream come true – not just for me, for everyone.

“Having someone that high profile coming to the Premier League would be a big thing.”

United are thought to be on the brink of their own transfer coup, bringing in Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek for a fee in the region of £40million.

“I’ve seen some stuff,” Greenwood said. “He does look like a good, promising player.”

Greenwood’s club captain Harry Maguire is absent from England duty after he was arrested while on holiday in Greece and convicted of aggravated assault, before securing a retrial after the verdict was quashed.

“It’s really not for me to say, but Harry’s a good lad and I’m looking forward to seeing him back at the club after this international break.” he said.

In the meantime, Greenwood will vie for a place in Gareth Southgate’s forward line and he is unfazed by competing with the likes of skipper Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and prospective United target Jadon Sancho.

“I feel ready to compete with anyone,” he added. “Like in the league, just going out there with a smile on your face and playing football is what it’s all about.

“It’s good that everyone is pushing for places. It makes the training and the games better.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Harry Kane. When I was in the youth team I was watching him in the Premier League. He is one of my team-mates and a role model as well.”

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