Can Garnacho be the missing piece in jigsaw for ETH's Man Utd?
Alejandro Garnacho: Man Utd Teenage Prodigy
It has been quite an exciting week for Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho, who is “providing the joy of football’ after scoring a last gasp goal against Fulham to secure all three points for the red devils.
The teenage sensation will not be heading to the World Cup with Argentina but may reflect on a breakthrough several days after being made to gain the trust of boss Erik Ten Hag.
The Dutchman apprised the 18 year old to keep the right “attitude” and “approach” after an extraordinary half hour cameo in the 4-2 Carabao Cup win over Aston Villa on Thursday, when he provided two assists.
It followed his experience on United's pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, when he was barred from playing in games as a disciplinary measure after being late for team meetings twice. Garnacho appears to be listening to his manager's counsel, as after replacing Anthony Martial in the 72nd minute at Craven Cottage, he scored a stunning goal in stoppage time with almost the last kick of the game as United defeated Fulham 2-1.
The visitors took the lead in the 14th minute through a Christian Eriksen first Man Utd goal before ex-United player Dan James equalised for Fulham. The Red Devils however didn’t give up and fought till the very last minute to secure all three points.
Alejandro Garnacho’s first PL goal came in only his fifth appearance for the club in the competition. "He has a lot of talent and his work rate together with the talent makes a big difference with us from the bench," team-mate Bruno Fernandes told Sky Sports. "It's not the first time he makes a big impact for us.
"We're really happy for him and know he can give us goals, assists and prove the joy of football.
"Nobody likes to be on the bench so the attitude he has when he comes on has been fantastic. He deserves the chances he's been having and he's got his rewards. That's what football's about."
Ten Hag has told the player not to ‘lose focus’. This was the final game in the Premier League ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, which starts on November 20, with the next top flight game on December 26.
United manager ETH said it could be a potentially “threatening” period for Garnacho and advised him to not “lose focus”. "He has had such an impact and it shows his talent, but he still has a long way to go and he has to keep his feet on the ground," said Ten Hag, trying to dampen the expectations levels on someone so young.
"He will be recognised by everyone so it is important to confirm it [when on the pitch]. "He now has momentum and if his attitude is good he will keep going. The danger is it's four weeks, no games and [potentially] losing focus. "If he stays with the same attitude his progress will keep going, if not it will be the other way around."
Garnacho was born in July 2004 in Madrid, Spain and represented the nation of his birth at the under-18 level, before making his international debut for Argentina at the under-20 level in 2022. He has been formerly called up to Argentina’s senior squad but is yet to make an appearance.
He joined Atletico Madrid's junior system in 2015 from Getafe before going to Manchester United's youth system in October 2020 for a fee of £420,000 paid to Atletico.
Garnacho signed his first professional deal with United in July 2021, making his debut against Chelsea in April before coming in as a late substitute against Brighton in Ten Hag's first competitive game as manager.
His first United goal came in the 1-0 win against Real Sociedad on 3rd November and Utd boss admitted his astonishment at Garnacho’s recent impact. “He had such an impact, we couldn't have thought that would happen."
Ten Hag is content with United’s huge progress’.
The victory leaves United fifth in the Premier League, only three points behind fourth placed Antonio Conte’s Tottenham. United finished sixth last season after which they sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last November with Micheal Carrick temporarily taking over before Ralf Rangnick was appointed as the interim manager until the end of the season.
Ten Hag, who won the Eredivisie title with Ajax in 2021-22 before coming to Old Trafford in the summer, has now won 14, drawn two and lost five of his 21 matches across all competitions. United have only lost once in 12 matches since an embarrassing 6-3 defeat against City rivals at the start of October.
"We have made massive progress but we can see where we have to improve if we are going for trophies - and those are the ambitions we have," added Ten Hag. "We're happy with the progress, attitude wise, the team spirit and competitiveness. You can see we have improved in resilience, belief and to win this game was difficult.
"But we have to make progress in closing the game out. We allowed Fulham to come back into the game after a mistake.
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