Not since Adnan Januzaj has Manchester United had such a talented young striker as Alejandro Garnacho. The 18-year-old is a hot property, having impressed during his brief career at Old Trafford. And, with Anthony Martial injured, he hopes to feature when the Red Devils lock the horns with Brighton in their Premier League opener on Sunday.
Manchester United take on Brighton on Sunday hoping to get their Premier League campaign off to a flying start.
The Red Devils won the same game 2-0 last season, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes on target, but lost 4-0 to Graham Potter’s side at the Amex Stadium in April.
Before the game at Old Trafford, Ten Hag has a dilemma on his hands.
Martial will miss the game, having suffered a hamstring injury in last weekend’s 1-0 friendly loss to Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo wants to start but the Portugal international is yet to reach his peak fitness level, having returned to pre-season later than his teammates due to a family issue.
Starting Anthony Elanga might be a good idea considering the Sweden international was one of the only shining lights of the Ralf Rangnick era.
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He scored four goals in all competitions under Moyes and established himself as one of the best young strikers on the planet.
And Garnacho could do the same if given the chance, with the 18-year-old on his way to becoming a superstar.
The teenager was excellent against Rayo Vallecano last weekend, stealing the show from Ronaldo and being the best player on the pitch during his time on the pitch.
The performance came just weeks after propelling United to FA Youth Cup glory, with two Argentine goals.
Garnacho is so good that there are talks he could be included in Argentina’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
And he could be Ten Hag’s own Januzaj at the start of this season, an academy graduate with the potential to improve further in the years to come.
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For Januzaj, however, his time under Moyes was as good as it was for the 27-year-old during his time with the Red Devils.
Louis van Gaal never seemed to like the winger, with the Belgium international struggling during a disastrous loan spell with Borussia Dortmund.
And Januzaj was eventually sold by Jose Mourinho to Real Sociedad, despite currently being a free agent after his contract expired.
Former United manager Warren Joyce, meanwhile, opened up last year on the club’s decision to sell Januzaj despite his previous promise.
Joyce said of Januzaj: “What’s frustrating is seeing people like Januzaj get to this level and stop doing the work they’ve done to get them to this level.
“Not playing the games, not training as hard, sitting in hot tubs and not doing the same weights and workouts that they did to get there. Those are the most frustrating for me because it could be avoided.”
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Januzaj himself blamed Van Gaal and Mourinho for his failure at United during a speech last year.
“When Van Gaal arrived I was playing one out of six games, so it was tough, and I was like, ‘What am I doing here? ‘” he told ESPN. “The first season under Moyes I had playing 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 didn’t understand.
“The only thing the coach can use against you is if you don’t train well, but I know myself, I trained well. It was never an excuse for me, I always trained hard since I started football.
“People were always talking about me, I did this, I did that, and it was tough. When you’re 18 and you get criticized like that, it’s tough.
“Especially when you get criticized without having games. I can understand it if I played 10 games and eight were bad games, but that wasn’t the case. Sometimes people on the outside don’t understand these things .
“At Manchester United, the most disappointing thing was that I wasn’t getting any games. At that time, I just wanted to leave the club. It was a difficult situation.”
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