Erik ten Hag has warned Manchester United starlet Alejandro Garnacho he must maintain the right attitude to break into his first-team on a regular basis.
The 18-year-old forward came off the bench in the second-half of United’s Carabao Cup clash with Aston Villa to help seal a fine comeback win after the hosts fell behind through a goal from Ollie Watkins.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay were on the score sheet with Garnacho providing two assists in his superb half-hour cameo as United ran out 4-2 winners.
The Argentina youth international terrorised the Villa defence with driving runs down the left, finding his teammates with crisp passing around the box as he demonstrated his ability both to beat the defence and pick his way through it.
Ten Hag did not call on Garnacho earlier in the season after concerns over his attitude stemming from United’s pre-season tour.
Having overcome those issues, the teenager is showing signs he can offer ten Hag another compelling option in attack with the United boss challenging him to maintain his desire to improve.
‘I think it was good that also when he came on that he showed performance that he has an impact in the game,’ ten Hag said. ‘Quite clear, with two assists, some good dribbles, runs behind, but also some things he has to improve. For instance, when we go for the long ball, don’t go for the header with Scott McTominay, go for the second ball.
“So he still has things to learn but it’s quite obvious we are really happy with his development, with his performance tonight and he can contribute to this team.
‘Can he have a regular role? Depends on how his approach, how his attitude, when he keeps working, keeps this attitude, then it’s possible,’ ten Hag said.
That he keeps the attitude he wants to improve every day and he’s doing the right things in his lifestyle, then it’s possible.
‘As you can see, he has capabilities that contribute to attacking football, he has something he can break open a really compact defending line.
‘I think all teams who want to attack want to play in an opponent’s half, they need players like them, he can outplay them.
‘And also, in the final decisions, he can do the right things. Once again, it depends on how his attitude, can he also do the defending stuff, the discipline, when he can do that, it’s possible.’
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