Alejandro Garnacho made the most of a start against Rayo Vallecano in Manchester United’s final pre-season friendly this weekend.
United played out to a 1-1 draw in what was Erik ten Hag’s first game at Old Trafford, with the dominant story being the return to action of Cristiano Ronaldo following his absence from their pre-season tour.
Ronaldo was substituted after 45 minutes and made way for Amad Diallo, who scored United’s only goal mere minutes after coming on, and generally underwhelmed in an up and down performance from the Red Devils.
A draw means United’s pre-season ends with them going unbeaten and has no doubt helped Ten Hag in deciding what his squad and starting XI will look like for next weekend’s Premier League opener against Brighton.
New signings Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen both featured from the start and looked comfortable to the delight of fans, but it was Garnacho who came out of an otherwise dull stalemate looking exceptionally good.
The young Argentine has been earning rave reviews for his performances at youth level for United, scoring seven times in the FA Youth Cup last season and breaking into the first-team, while also getting called up to the senior Argentina national team.
Garnacho has featured sparingly in pre-season, however, which has left chances to impress the new manager on the field limited. His performance against Rayo, though, has given Ten Hag some serious food for thought.
A highlights compilation has surfaced on Twitter following the game and has earned rave reviews from United fans watching on. It’s clear to see why everyone is so high on Garnacho, who appears exceptionally talented and fearless when given a chance to shine.
His individual performance against Rayo showed exactly that, so be sure to take a look for yourself below.
WATCH: Garnacho’s highlights vs Rayo Vallecano
— mufcacademy91 (@mufcacademy91) August 1, 2022
You can understand why United fans are so keen to see Ten Hag make use of Garnacho this season.
He really is fearless. Be it taking the ball past players, dribbling it into tight spaces or trying to pick out a key pass, the Argentine looked a natural on the left flank. His pressing and tackling from the front was also solid and surely impressed Ten Hag.
Per @StatmanDave on Twitter, Garnacho completed seven out of 11 final third passes, won possession seven times, had six touches inside the opposition box and created two chances. Not a bad showing at all.
The talent and potential is there to see, and his performance against Rayo shows he was itching for a chance to stake his claim. Fans have of course had their say on Twitter, and the response to his performance was electric. Let’s take a look.
Of course, it’s important to remember that Garnacho is still only 18 years old and has plenty of time to be eased into the first team in due course.
However, it’s hard to ignore his obvious qualities and easy to understand why United fans genuinely believe he’s ready to be integrated. The club have always been keen to give chances to their best youth stars and Garnacho looks to be exactly that.
Ten Hag hasn’t flooded him with minutes throughout the pre-season but, per Fabrizio Romano, has agreed with the club that he deserves a new contract. Don’t be surprised if the 18-year-old is integrated and breaks into the first team as the season draws on, as his quality is truly undeniable.