Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho has been warned by manager Erik ten Hag that his chances of making it at Old Trafford depend on his attitude.
Garnacho, 18, provided two assists off the bench in United’s 4-2 win over Villa on Thursday night in the Carabao Cup as he helped inspire a second-half comeback to set up a fourth-round tie against Burnley.
The Argentina U20 international was handed his full senior debut by Ten Hag in the Europa League against Sheriff Tiraspol at the end of last month, before scoring his first goal for the club at Real Sociedad a week later.
But Ten Hag has previously admitted that Garnacho’s behaviour was not up to standards earlier in the campaign, with reports claiming he had twice been late for pre-season training, and after the Villa game the Dutchman again emphasised the importance of a good attitude.
“It was good that he came on and showed that performance and had that impact in the game, to be able to assist, make the dribbles and run behind,” Ten Hag said.
“There are some things he has to improve, for instance when we go long to go for the second balls. He still has things to learn but quite obviously we are happy with his development and he can contribute to the team.
“It depends on his approach, his attitude. When he keeps working then yes, it is possible [for him to play more]. He wants to improve every day. He has to do the right things in his lifestyle. He has the capability.”
Fernandes: Garnacho didn’t have best attitude in pre-season
Bruno Fernandes, one of United’s vice captains, referenced Garnacho’s behaviour in pre-season after the teenager’s first senior goal in the 1-0 win over Sociedad earlier this month.
“He is good but he knows we expect a lot from him,” Fernandes told BT Sport. “He’s obviously still really young and he’s doing really well.
“At the beginning of the season he was not at his best, in the [pre-season] tour he didn’t have the best attitude that he should have had, and that’s why he didn’t get his chances until now.
“Now he’s getting his chances because he’s training better, he’s having a different attitude and he’s deserving his chances. Everyone is really happy for him and pleased with his goal.”
Who is Alejandro Garnacho?
United signed Garnacho from Spanish side Atletico Madrid in 2020, as part of a youth recruitment drive which saw them buy Marc Jurado from Barcelona and Alvaro Fernandez from Real Madrid.
Alejandro Garnacho has gone on to become one of the club’s most promising prospects since then. He was pivotal in United’s successful FA Youth Cup run last season, scoring twice in the final at Old Trafford against Nottingham Forest.
The teenager has also made his professional debut against Chelsea at Old Trafford in April and has now scored once and set up two more in seven appearances this season, two of which were from the start.
Reports suggest United are working on a new deal for Garnacho as they look to tie down one of their brightest young stars amid interest from top European clubs.
His talent has not gone unnoticed on the international stage, either. Garnacho was eligible to play for Spain but a shock call-up from Argentina’s senior side in March appears to have convinced him to pledge his allegiance to the reigning Copa America winners.