Garnacho sparkles in first full appearance

Thursday 27 October 2022 23:58

Alejandro Garnacho was awarded his first senior start by Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag this evening.

The 18-year-old started alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Antony in the Reds' attack as we beat Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 at Old Trafford.  

Garnacho became the first of the club's 2022 FA Youth Cup-winning side to make the United XI in a competitive fixture and sparkled down the left flank, showing drive and desire to beat his markers and wreak havoc.

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Find out who came out on top of the poll, following the 3-0 triumph over Sheriff.

The teenage prospect proved just why he earned the manager's trust to start at the Theatre of Dreams. 

"I think it was a good performance from him. He did what I expected him to do," Ten Hag said afterwards. 

"In the last weeks, he had a better attitude, more resilience, more determination and what you see is he is a talent to deal with the ball in tight areas, to run behind and especially also his tempo dribbles - he can take players on and that's a good capability in his football." 

Ten Hag hopes that this reward will encourage Garnacho to get even better. 

"He deserved his chance, but there is still a lot of room for improvement, especially in the defending part, in the pressing part, in the counter press, in the defence transition," added the Dutchman. 

"But you can see, in tight areas, he can find solutions."

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Garnacho's team-mates from the 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Youth Cup final - Radek Vitek, Kobbie Mainoo and Charlie McNeill - have been named on the bench under Ten Hag, with McNeill coming on against Real Sociedad in our opening Europa League game. 

The Argentina Under-20 international's start proves that the opportunities are there, and will surely encourage all of our youngsters going forward.

The previous time United won the Youth Cup was back in 2011, with multiple members of that squad gaining senior recognition.

Alejandro Garnacho runs with the ball.

Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are two of the most notable names from that trophy lift who featured heavily for our senior team across their careers. 

The pair left the club this summer, but enjoyed lengthy spells with the Reds, making 232 (Lingard) and 233 (Pogba) appearances. 

The Keane twins - Michael and Will - also started that 2011 final, before going on to feature for the first team. 

Ryan Tunnicliffe, Larnell Cole, Tyler Blackett, Ravel Morrison and Tom Thorpe all made senior appearances for the Reds, too.

Garnacho, the current Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year, will aim to keep impressing, and leading the way for his young colleagues.

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