Sports Mole takes a closer look at teenage striker Alejandro Garnacho, who could be a surprise for Manchester United this season.
A Manchester United the striker lit up Old Trafford in Sunday’s pre-season friendly with Rayo Vallecano but it wasn’t the return Cristiano Ronaldowho played 45 minutes on his return to action.
Alejandro Garnacho had the opportunity to impress from the first whistle in the team’s final pre-season game this summer, and the 18-year-old made a brilliant impression.
The Argentina Under-20 international showed his fearlessness by continuously driving down the Rayo backline, and he was comfortably Man United’s most productive striker before leaving the pitch to cheers in the 73rd minute of which turned out to be a 1-1 draw.
Boss of the Red Devils Erik ten Hag embraced the youngster, clearly impressed with what he had seen, and the Dutchman raved about him in his post-match interview.
“What you want is also a young player who deserves a chance,” said Ten Hag MUTV. “We want to give them that chance and it shows in pre-season [training] and that’s why he came [started]. He played quite well and he is a hope. He’s only a teenager but his performance was really good.”
Garnacho traveled with the Man United squad on their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia but made no appearances, while he was also not selected in the squad to face Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Guardian of the Red Devils Tom Heaton also praised his teammate following the clash with Rayo.
“I think today there were some really good performances. I thought Garnacho was exceptional on the left side. So yeah, it’s good for him to have a good run-out,” said the club’s number two goalkeeper. MUTV.
“I’m sure the manager is impressed with him, among other things, there have been a lot of good performances, but he’s just taking the opportunity for the youngsters.”
Garnacho also impressed Ten Hag by showing up early for pre-season duty at the end of June, despite not being expected until July due to his international commitments.
His involvement for Argentina Under-20 in the Toulon Tournament in June meant the teenager was not due to return until July, but he was present on the first day of pre-season training.
Garnacho made two Premier League appearances in the latter stages of the 2021-22 campaign, making his debut against Chelsea in late April before appearing in the final game of Man United’s campaign at Crystal Palace.
The South American played at Under-18 and Under-23 level last season, including four goals and one assist in Premier League 2, and he netted two late goals as the Red Devils won the FA Youth Cup beating Nottingham Forest 3-1.
Garnacho, who was named Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year for 2021-22 due to his impressive form at youth level, joined the Man United Under-18s from Atletico Madrid in October 2020.
According to the Italian journalist fabrice romanoMan United are working on a new contract for the teenager, with Ten Hag seeing him as an important player for the future.
“Alejandro has had a fantastic season and really deserves this recognition,” said the academy director Nick Cox said the club’s official website at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. “There have been a number of Under-18 players who have performed exceptionally well throughout the year. Reaching an FA Youth Cup final is a fantastic achievement so it was not an easy decision. to take.
“Alejandro has shown great determination since the day he arrived here from Spain, in the midst of a pandemic. He has adapted extremely well to life in Manchester and continues to improve on the pitch. each day.
“Making his first-team debut last month was the culmination of hard work by Alejandro himself, his family and a dedicated group of Academy staff. received from Argentina is another fantastic indicator of the progress he has made this season.
“He remains grounded given all he has achieved this year and we know he will continue to grow within our youth development system.”
It is believed that the Red Devils are currently assessing what would be best for the striker this season, either continuing his development at Old Trafford or leaving on loan.
However, Garnacho is capable of playing a role for Man United’s first team this season, with his unpredictability and impressive ball-carrying abilities making him an extremely dangerous operator.
There are plenty of players ahead of him in the pecking order at the moment, but the Red Devils are hardly lucky to have forwards heading into the start of the campaign, and it’s not impossible to imagine him in the squad against Brighton & Hove Albion on August 7.
Man United will be playing a huge amount of football between now and the 2022 World Cup break due to their involvement in the Europa League group stage, and it is certainly not guaranteed that the club will sign the players they want. before the end of the transfer window.
Even if a Anthony or one Benjamin Sesko were to arrive in the coming weeks, there should be a role for Garnacho at Old Trafford in the new season as he could be Ten Hag’s wild card in the squad.