Man Utd could be about to give Alejandro Garnacho a special new shirt number
Erik ten Hag assesses impressive Alejandro Garnacho
Over the years, many special players have worn the No 7 at Manchester United. From George Best to Eric Cantona, David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s a jersey that means more than any other at Old Trafford. And Alejandro Garnacho could be it’s next occupant, with the 18-year-old clearly on the path to superstardom following his heroics off the bench against Wolves on Saturday.
Manchester United weren’t at their scintillating, swashbuckling best against Wolves as they looked to boost their hopes of a top four finish.
But they got the job done, with goals from Anthony Martial and Garnacho giving them all three points.
For Garnacho, it was quite a day. After two months out injured, he was thrown on in the closing stages with Erik ten Hag challenging the youngster to make his mark.
By the time the game ended, it was clear he’d passed his manager’s test with flying colours.
Garnacho took his goal excellently in the closing stages, showing composure beyond his years as he curled an effort in off the post to spark jubilant celebrations around the ground.
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He picked up a yellow card for taking his shirt off but this was a moment of jubilation for the Argentine, especially given his injury torment.
United have a superstar on their hands. He is a player capable of going right to the very top, providing he stays grounded and continues to follow orders.
Ten Hag knows this, which is why the Dutchman drove the decision for the forward to recently sign a bumper new contract at the club.
At present, Garnacho sports the No 49 – having been given a shirt number promotion at the beginning of the season.
With each and every game he plays, however, he’s looking increasingly like a natural fit for the famous, iconic No 7 instead.
Garnacho wants it. Last month, he ‘liked’ a message on Twitter calling for the 18-year-old to be given the jersey that means more than any other at the club.
He is already more effective than the likes of Jadon Sancho and Antony, despite his young age.
And giving him the No 7 could even be a way of escalating his vast potential, giving him a confidence that he’ll make the very top of the sport.
Of course, United could feasibly give it to a summer signing instead.
It remains vacant following the departure of Ronaldo back in November, with Edinson Cavani donning the number before the Portugal international.
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But Garnacho is the natural fit and his performances show he’s ready to follow in the footsteps of Ronaldo, who has been his idol throughout his brief career so far.
Speaking after the win over Wolves, meanwhile, Ten Hag hailed the teenager for his dazzling cameo.
“He came in and did almost everything good and scored a great goal that will give him belief,” he said.
“It’s good for us for the rest of the season that he’s back and can have an impact.
“I’m happy we can bring in young players and, hopefully he will progress so quickly that he can compete for a starting position. Because that is his next challenge.”
When asked what Garnacho needed to do in order to become a starter, he added: “Making decisions, being aware, scanning situations, when to go one-on-one, get behind, when to go for goal or make an extra pass.
“Decisions like that are what makes a good player a top player – that is the difference.
“But when you see it overall, he’s a huge talent and very brave.”
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