Youngster Alejandro Garnacho could become just the fifth player in Manchester United’s rich and colourful history to have made his first-team debut before appearing in a Youth Cup final for the club.
The Argentine, who joined United from Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid almost two years ago, made his first-team debut during Thursday evening’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford. He stepped off the bench in the closing stages to replace Anthony Elanga.
Garnacho had been in United’s previous three matchday squads. On each occasion, however, he was not required to step off the substitutes bench by Ralf Rangnick.
Against Chelsea, though, he earned his first taste of senior football, even if it amounted to just a few seconds. The versatile forward has been outstanding in the youth ranks this season, scoring 12 goals and grabbing six assists across all competitions.
But even though Garnacho’s United debut is a moment that he is unlikely to ever forget, he could yet finish the season with another special OId Trafford evening to saviour. That is because the 17-year-old is likely to feature for the Under-18s in the FA Youth Cup final against Nottingham Forest later this month.
He has scored five goals in five games en route to the final, as well as chipping in with three assists. Despite his brilliance and enormous potential, he has done incredibly well to earn his first-team debut before featuring in a final at youth-level.
And should he feature against Forest, he will join an exclusive list of United legends to have made their senior debuts before appearing in a Youth Cup final. Only Duncan Edwards, George Best, Norman Whiteside and Ryan Giggs have played for the first-team before appearing in such match, a list that is testament to Garnacho’s potential.
Interim United boss Rangnick has heaped praise on Garnacho in recent weeks, with more and more pleas having been made from the fans for him to be awarded his first-team debut.
Ahead of Garnacho making his debut against Chelsea, Rangnick said: “He has been training with us the last two weeks and he is one of the most promising players. He is only 17, but if he keeps his feet on the ground, he will not only be sitting on the bench but will be playing for this club.”
Leave a Reply