Erik ten Hag confirmed he now views deadly youngster Alejandro Garnacho as a first-team player, after the Argentinian youngster’s sparkling Europa League performances.
The 18-year-old netted a match-winning goal during Manchester United’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad in San Sebastian in just his second senior start.
However, the 1-0 win was not enough for the Red Devils to clinch top spot and avoid a play-off next February against a team dropping down from the Champions League.
Garnacho’s goal was an incredibly composed effort. The youngster was fed by Cristiano Ronaldo, held off his marker and fired into the top corner.
The teenager then wheeled away to celebrate with the five-time Balon d’Or winner he describes as his idol.
A week earlier, Garnacho received a standing ovation from the Man Utd faithful at Old Trafford when he was substituted late in a 3-0 win against Sheriff Tiraspol.
While still raw, the Argentinian's unpredictability, skill and willingness to take on defenders gave Man Utd an extra dimension in the past two Europa League fixtures.
Ten Hag was full of praise for Garnacho after the game and confirmed the player had completed the transition from youth team football to the first team.
The Man Utd manager told the club’s website: “Let’s look at the positives from tonight. We have an extra player with Garnacho.
“He did well and I hope he can keep going in this process. He was reliable defending, he worked hard, he was a threat and he scored a goal so I am happy. If he can keep this process going, I’m really happy”
Man Utd fans have had high hopes for Garnacho since the youngsters’s arrival from Atletico Madrid in 2020.
His potential was further evidenced as he lead the club’s under-18’s to a first FA Youth Cup since 2011 earlier this year.
Last night Garnacho surpassed George Best to become Man Utd’s youngest non-English goalscorer in European competition.
After the game Garnacho’s teammate Bruno Fernandes said: “He was good tonight.
“On tour he didn’t have the best attitude he should have and that’s why he didn’t get his chances until now. He’s getting his chances now because he’s training better, he’s having a different attitude and he deserves his chances.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
- Erik ten Hag sends message to 'unhappy' Alejandro Garnacho after Man United's win over Crystal Palace
- Erik ten Hag hints Jadon Sancho could return to Manchester United team
- Ian Wright tells Erik ten Hag the line-up mistake he made vs Arsenal that cost him
- Erik ten Hag gave every Man Utd player an unusual gift after drawing with Crystal Palace