Mason Greenwood won’t play for Manchester United this campaign, with the club’s investigation into the player expected to take some time to conclude.
Greenwood saw all charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service this month.
He had been due to stand trial in November for an alleged attempted rape and assault against a woman, but prosecutors dropped the case after major witnesses withdrew and another evidence came to light.
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The 21-year-old has not played for the club since January 22 last year after being charged with one count of attempted rape, a count of assault and engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour. But Greenwood denied all charges.
While all those charges have been dropped by the CPS and Greenwood now faces no criminal prosecution, he is being investigated by United.
The Red Devils confirmed on February 2 that they are conducting their own process but they did not put a timeline on it.
The Daily Star claims the internal probe could go on for several months, meaning Greenwood’s chances of returning before the end of the campaign on May 28 are very slim.
United will interview Greenwood to ascertain his version of events and will also get specialists to assess his mental and physical state.
Greenwood, who has 35 goals in 129 appearances for United, is under contract with the club until June 2025. United want to proceed with caution and are in no rush to make a decision on his future at the club.
While he has been suspended since the charges came to light in January 2022, Greenwood has continued to be paid his £100,000-per-week wages in full.
Although the CPS dropped charges this month, they maintained that the case will remain “under continuous review”.
A CPS spokesperson said: “We have a duty to keep cases under continuous review. In this case a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
“In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case. We have explained our decision to all parties. We would always encourage any potential victims to come forward and report to police and we will prosecute wherever our legal test is met.”