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Alejandro Garnacho Player Analysis: Manchester United's FA Youth Cup Hero

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Alejandro Garnacho Player Analysis: Manchester United's FA Youth Cup Hero

Alejandro Garnacho was the star of the show in Manchester United's FA Youth Cup run last season, finishing the competition with seven goals and three assists, including two crucial goals in the final.

United lifted the trophy for the first time since 2011, when Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison were in the side. It was the record eleventh time that United had won the competition, but it wasn't the only record on the night.

Over 67,000 supporters were at Old Trafford for the match, close to doubling the previous attendance record for the Youth Cup.

They were able to witness the young winger steal the show in the late stages of the game. It would've left them excited to witness the future for Garnacho.

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What are Alejandro Garnacho's strengths?

The 17-year-old is known for his electric pace, which is matched by excellent stamina. This was in full use against Everton's under-18s in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup last season, where Garnacho picked the ball up in his own half, blitzed his man and slotted the ball in the back of the net.

The left-winger can go on the inside and utilise his shooting ability with his right foot or to drive inside, or he can equally test his full-back for pace on the outside. A test that he will usually win.

Garnacho has also developed a connection with Charlie McNeill in United's youth team, another player who joined the club in 2020, and they link up well together in the final third.

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Sometimes the teenager will opt to drop slightly deeper and help create attacks, but he is a much more dangerous prospect when he's acting direct with, or without, the ball.

His agility allows him to have a frightening turn of pace, and over the course of the 2021/22 campaign he developed his skills one-v-one against a defender. He is able to slow down and square up his defender, and when they are flat-footed, he dashes to either side and can often gain the advantage to make a killer pass or shoot at goal.

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What are Alejandro Garnacho's weaknesses?

While there is so much hype around the United academy graduate, he is certainly not the finished product. Despite being the first in his age group to deputise for the first-team, he still has areas that he needs to improve.

A killer threat in the final third, but Garnacho can sometimes make the wrong decision in those areas too, like many youngsters. The stage was set in the Youth Cup final, and even though he eventually lit fire to the game, Garnacho was wasteful on a number of occasions when better options were available beforehand.

What lies for Alejandro Garnacho next season?

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It might be too soon for a loan move for the winger who won't turn 18 until July.

It is more likely that he will be a key member of United's under-23s side in the Premier League 2, while still training with the first-team and getting the odd involvement.

Alejandro Garnacho in Manchester United training with Charlie McNeill and Marc Jurado | Credit: Manchester United
Alejandro Garnacho in Manchester United training with Charlie McNeill and Marc Jurado | Credit: Manchester United

Erik ten Hag is known for giving young players a chance, which bodes well for the former Atletico Madrid youngster.

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But, he should be able to focus on his work in the youth set-up next season, so that he is best prepared for when he eventually is ready for first-team involvement.

A dangerous young winger is exactly what supporters love, and Garnacho has all of the tools to get the Old Trafford faithful off their seats -- he has done it already.

He stole the show, and the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award, last season. The next campaign will be about showing his talents consistently in the PL2, to prove that he can eventually reach the first eleven.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: FA Cup, Manchester United

Cain Smith
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