Manchester United unsung hero shines despite Alejandro Garnacho brilliance in victory over Everton – Richard Fay


Manchester United’s youngsters provided the perfect response to their defeat to Leeds earlier this week as they beat Everton 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League 2 on Friday night.

Goals from unsung hero Charlie Savage and a brace from D’Mani Mellor secured a well-earned three points for Neil Wood’s side. A healthy crowd of nearly 10,000 had packed into Elland Road for the 3-0 loss earlier in the week, and there were another 3,121 at Old Trafford as United showed their determination to put on an impressive second-half showing.

It was a first half low on quality as both sides struggled to find a way to unleash their attacking threats against well-drilled defensive lines. United’s biggest threats came from the ever-lively Alvaro Fernandez at left-back and the versatile Charlie Wellens who posed a constant threat with his dangerous runs into the box.

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Zidane Iqbal, who has been called up to the senior Iraq squad for the forthcoming international break, showcased his talent with a number of bright dribbles, coming close to opening the scoring when he drilled a ferocious effort at Harry Tyrer from outside the box.

Everton ended the first half the brightest, however, with Lewis Dobbin, who has made three senior league appearances, a constant threat in the final third. He should have opened the scoring when he dazzled the United defence with his dribbling ability before curling a tame effort well wide of Ondrej Mastny’s goal.

That late threat looked to give United the spark they needed. After the break they asserted their dominance as they went in search of the opener.

It would finally come just before the hour mark when the impressive Savage picked the ball up on the edge of the box and unleashed a ferocious left-footed strike into the bottom left corner of the goal.

The 18-year-old has already played at Old Trafford for the first team this season, and he is one of the unsung stars of the U23 side, often acting as the heartbeat for a team that is usually known for its attacking talent.

Savage commands the midfield with his excellent passing range and brings composure to a side that is still extremely young for the age bracket it plays in. He is one of the many bright talents who could well be loaned out next season in order to continue with their development.



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D’Mani Mellor of Manchester United U23s celebrates his first of two goals

While the Welsh teenager might be the unsung hero of the side, substitute Alejandro Garnacho is one of the stars. The 17-year-old is yet to make his senior debut for the club but has been called up to the Argentina squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers next week.

He has come on leaps and bounds at youth level this season and made an immediate impact from the bench as he darted down the left and set up Mellor for the second. The former Atletico Madrid youngster nearly grabbed a goal of his own shortly afterwards, first firing over from a tight angle from the left and then dragging an effort wide of goal from the other wing after he had latched onto a beautiful pass from Hannibal Mejbri.

Garnacho would have a say in the next goal, though. Once again, the youngster caused chaos with a dazzling run down the left wing before cutting the ball back to Mellor in the box before the captain fired a ferocious effort at goal, which Tyrer couldn’t keep out despite getting his hands onto it.

With the match in added time, there should have been a fourth when substitute Garnacho got in behind the defence once again but saw his near-post effort saved well by the Everton goalkeeper.

It perhaps won’t be a bad thing if he is saving his goals for Argentina training with Lionel Messi next week instead.

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