Not since Adnan Januzaj have Manchester United had an exciting young forward as talented as Alejandro Garnacho. The 18-year-old is hot property, having impressed during his brief career at Old Trafford. And, with Anthony Martial injured, he’ll be hoping to feature when the Red Devils lock horns with Brighton in their Premier League opener on Sunday.
Manchester United face off against Brighton on Sunday hoping to get their Premier League campaign off to a winning start.
The Red Devils won the same fixture 2-0 last season, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes on target, but did lose 4-0 to Graham Potter’s side at the Amex Stadium in April.
Ahead of the match at Old Trafford, Ten Hag has a dilemma on his hands.
Martial will be missing for the contest, having injured his hamstring in last weekend’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo wants to start but the Portugal international is yet to reach peak fitness levels, having returned to pre-season later than his team-mates due to a family matter.
Starting Anthony Elanga would perhaps be wise given how the Sweden international was one of the only shining lights of the Ralf Rangnick era.
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He would go on to net four goals across all competitions under Moyes and established himself as one of the best young forwards on the planet.
And Garnacho could do the same if given the opportunity, with the 18-year-old on his way to becoming a superstar.
The teenager was excellent against Rayo Vallecano last weekend, stealing the spotlight from Ronaldo and being the best player on the pitch during his time on the field.
That performance came just weeks after he’d propelled United to FA Youth Cup glory, with the Argentine netting twice.
So good is Garnacho there’s talk he could be included in Argentina’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar later in the year.
And he could be Ten Hag’s very own Januzaj early on this season, an academy graduate with the potential to get even better in the coming years ahead.
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For Januzaj, however, his stint under Moyes was as good as it got for the 27-year-old during his time with the Red Devils.
Louis van Gaal never seemed keen on the winger, with the Belgium international toiling during a disastrous loan stint with Borussia Dortmund.
And Januzaj was eventually sold by Jose Mourinho to Real Sociedad, though he’s currently a free agent after his contract expired.
Former United coach Warren Joyce, meanwhile, last year opened up on the club’s decision to sell Januzaj despite his previous promise.
Joyce said of Januzaj: “The frustrating thing is seeing ones like Januzaj get up to that level and stop doing the work they did to get them to that level.
“Not play the games, not train as hard, sit in Jacuzzis and not do the same weights and sessions they did to get there. Those are the frustrating ones for me, because that could be avoided.”
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Januzaj himself blamed Van Gaal and Mourinho for his failed spell at United when speaking last year.
“When Van Gaal came I was playing one game out of six, so it was difficult, and I was like, ‘What am I doing here?'” he told ESPN. “The first season under Moyes I was getting game time to show myself. I think I played 30 or 35 games. Then it was one game and five on the bench and with my quality, I didn’t understand.
“The only thing that the coach can use against you is if you’re not training well, but I know myself, I was training well. It’s never been an excuse for me, I’ve always trained hard since I started football.
“People were always talking about me, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, and it was difficult. When you’re 18 and you’re being criticised like that, it’s difficult.
“Especially when you’re being criticised without getting games. I can understand it if I was playing 10 games and eight were bad games but it was not the case. Sometimes people outside don’t understand these things.
“At Manchester United, the most disappointing thing was that I wasn’t getting games. At that point I just wanted to leave the club. It was a difficult situation.”
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