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United’s Ten Hag heaps praise on youthful Garnacho

United’s Ten Hag heaps praise on youthful Garnacho
United’s Ten Hag heaps praise on youthful Garnacho

MANCHESTER, England : Alejandro Garnacho made the difference in Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Everton on Saturday, creating both penalties with his deft dribbles in the box that proved nightmarish for Everton.

The 19-year-old United winger has started every game since late October, emerging as a player manager Erik ten Hag can count on with a consistency that belies his age.

“He’s progressing very well and we are very pleased with this,” Ten Hag said. “His contribution today was huge, his runs, his dribbles. It’s attractive as well for the audience, obviously we want to show something. I think well-deserved penalties.”

Captain Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford stepped up to convert the first-half penalties that helped keep United’s hopes of a top-four finish alive. They are sixth in the table, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa.

Ten Hag believes Garnacho will only continue to improve.

“It’s about him and if he can keep the focus and he puts the right effort in, in the game and also during the week,” the Dutchman said. “Sometimes for young players it’s difficult, because they’re inexperienced … but I think he is able to, when he keeps this focus, this attitude, he will improve from game to game, and that is what we’ve seen in this moment.

“With young players you always have to tell them, that’s my experience, during the week we have to work very good in training sessions, meetings, we have to be spot on to get the performance in the weekend.”

The Argentina international, who does not turn 20 until July, has five league goals this season, including a spectacular overhead strike away at Everton.

If Garnacho’s youth translates to more pushing from the coaching staff, Ten Hag does not mind.

“I love to work with Garnacho,” the manager said. “He’s a player who needs a challenge, he likes a challenge, he is very brave, he’s very confident, our job is to push him to high levels.

“He has high potential and now we have to get the potential out, therefore you have to work day by day.”

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