Man Utd news: Erik ten Hag makes stance clear after Garnacho response to private criticism | Football | Sport

Alejandro Garnacho faced a crossroads at Manchester United after having his attitude questioned by Erik ten Hag, but it seems the youngster is thriving at Old Trafford after taking his comments on board. The Argentinian starlet has broken into the first team this season and won the fans over with several eye-catching displays, but it took some time for Ten Hag to be convinced by Garnacho.

The 18-year-old was brought into the senior squad over pre-season after receiving a call-up from Argentina’s senior squad last season. However, Ten Hag suggested that he had been unhappy with the starlet’s attitude at the start of the season, which explained why he only made his first senior start in October.

It’s an open secret that he initially struggled to win Ten Hag round, with the forward missing two team meetings much to the furore of his manager. Reports said he was also told to ‘pull his socks up’ after arriving at Carrington looking ‘dishevelled’, something that didn’t go unnoticed in Ten Hag’s book as he has implemented a hardline stance on player behaviour.

But Garnacho, to his credit, ‘didn’t sulk’ and instead responded by knuckling down behind the scenes.

When handed a first senior start on Thursday as the Red Devils against Sheriff Tiraspol in October, Garnacho was the bright spark under the lights at Old Trafford as the Red Devils cruised to a 3-0 win in the Europa League. Ten Hag was left impressed and credited his turnaround after a difficult period of adjustment.

“I think it was a good performance from him [Garnacho]; he did what I expected him to do,” the Dutchman said at the time. “First, he deserves a chance from the last weeks. The start was difficult for him, I was not happy with him but the last weeks I was happy with him, he had a better attitude, more resilience and determination.

“You see his talent to deal with the ball in tight areas, to run behind and he can take players on. That’s a good capability, especially against opponents who are defending compact like this opponent. I am happy with that and I hope this is a stimulant for him, the first game, that he knows ‘I have to do better’ to get into the team. But don’t forget you are playing in a team.”

From there, the young forward has come on leaps and bounds for United and made regular contributions from the bench and when starting. With his four goals and four assists coming in 933 minutes of action, Garnacho is averaging a goal contribution every 117 minutes when he is on the pitch, pointing to his sizeable impact.

His progress as a starter has been stunted due to the incredible form shown by Marcus Rashford this season, but his cameos from the bench are keeping the likes of Jadon Sancho on their toes and Anthony Elanga out of the team.

Not many players would have responded the way Garnacho has to his slight setback under Ten Hag, and with a new contract reportedly signed, he can focus on trying to carve out a role for himself in the starting XI until the end of the campaign – something the boss has made clear he’d be willing to grant after winning back his trust.

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