Mason GreenwoodImage source, Getty Images

A lack of communication on the future of Mason Greenwood at Manchester United has “created a vacuum” that has made the debate “more polarising”, says The Athletic’s Adam Crafton.

On Wednesday, United released a statement to say the club was still in “intensive internal deliberation” about the next steps for the 21-year-old, who had charges of attempted rape and assault dropped at the start of February.

Crafton told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast United’s chief executive Richard Arnold communicated a plan with the club’s executive leadership team in the first week of August to reintegrate Greenwood - but that it had been delayed.

“They even went to the extent of scheduling a date for the announcement,” said Crafton. “That was the 4th of August, which clearly has passed us by.

“The main theory is that the decision has been made but delayed, although the statement yesterday denied that. We know, and the club did not deny to us, that Arnold communicated it to his leadership team.

“The vacuum has created a space that is being filled by people who feel passionately that he should not come back and on social media those who feel passionately that he should. Lack of clear communication has made the debate more polarising.”

Crafton also suggested the plan to “bring Greenwood back into the fold” has the support of football director John Murtough and head coach Erik ten Hag, but suggested the delay in any announcement is down to wanting to brief key stakeholders.

“That could be club sponsors, the fans’ advisory board or members of the women’s team, with many of them currently doing fantastic things for England in Australia,” he said.

“The club are insistent this is not a decision that will be delegated to stakeholders and it seems more to me that they do not want it to come as a shock to them by finding it out in the media.”

Listen to the full discussion from 1’25’00 on BBC Sounds