Manchester United are in desperate need of a sprinkling of talent, and many believe that new manager Erik ten Hag should look no further than the academy for some star quality players
Image: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
It is no secret that there is a gulf in class between Manchester United and Manchester City, and Erik ten Hag could learn a lot from his new noisy neighbours.
The Dutch manager is expected to shake up the United dressing room over the summer, especially with the significant budget that he reportedly has to work with. But the Ajax boss was appointed as the new Red Devils boss due to how he can rebuild clubs on a low budget and his willingness to turn to youth.
One player who is sure to benefit from this is Alejandro Garnacho, one of the most exciting prospects rising through the ranks at Old Trafford. According to the Daily Mail, the 17-year-old is set to be rewarded for his progress with a new contract.
But Ten Hag could be tempted into replicating the way that Pep Guardiola introduced Phil Foden to life in the Premier League. The 21-year-old was slowly but surely brought into the City team over the course of a few seasons and has now become one of the biggest talents at the Etihad Stadium outfit.
The time spent in and amongst the City squad without ever gracing the pitch did Foden the world of good and allowed him to take to the Premier League like a duck to water, rather than being thrown in at the deep end. In the midfielder’s first campaign (2017/18) he made five short cameo appearances, before making 13 the following season and then making 23 appearances the year after.
Garnacho has an undeniable level of talent and his late brace in the FA Youth Cup final certainly earned him some more admirers given that the match attracted a crowd of 67,492. The Spanish forward has electric pace as well as an aura of confidence in his ability, and being in and amongst the likes of top talents like Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho will only bolster that.
Garnacho made his debut against Chelsea last month, coming off the bench in the final moments at the Theatre of Dreams. He has also been named in the matchday squad on six occasions, with Ralf Rangnick being vocal in how impressed he has been by the wonderkid.
Speaking after his debut, the interim manager said: “[Garnacho] has been training with us [the first team] for the last two weeks and I know that he is one of the most promising players,” he explained, after including him in the squad against Norwich.
“[He is] still only 17, but a player that hopefully if he keeps his feet on the ground. If he keeps trying to get better every day, then he will not only be sitting on the bench but there is every chance he will be playing for this club.”
Of course, Ten Hag will be looking at his current crop of United players and questioning whether his bright spark is going to come from – and that may well be Garnacho. However, there are certainly benefits to nurturing youth talents in the same way that Guardiola brought Foden into the frame and helped him become one of the most exciting youngsters in world football.