In an academy filled with exciting and talented youngsters, Alejandro Garnacho has stood out from the crowd this season with Manchester United’s Under-18 and Under-23 squads.
The 17-year-old left winger from Madrid, Spain has played an integral role in Under-18s’ run to the FA Youth Cup final, tallying five goals and three assists in five matches to make a name for himself throughout the club.
Garnacho signed for United from Atletico Madrid’s academy on Oct. 2, 2020 for a €465,000 fee, and he has settled into life in Manchester as well anyone could have ever hoped. The talented forward, who has split time between the Under-18s and Under-23s this season, has recorded 11 goals and six assists in 28 matches across all competitions, including two goals and an assist each in Premier League 2 and the UEFA Youth League.
His pace, strength, technical ability, and fine finishing technique are causing opponents problems when he is on the ball, and his ability to whip a free kick into the back of the net makes him a duel threat.
The Tweet below gives fans a look at how lethal of a finisher Garnacho has been since joining United.
Although he has yet to play for United’s first team, Garnacho impressed Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni with his form in the academy and earned himself a call-up to Argentina’s senior team for this month’s FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Garnacho is a dual citizen of Spain and Argentina, his mother’s birth country, and he has represented Spain at the Under-18 level. Despite playing for the European giants in the past, he is a proud supporter of both countries and is excited to represent his mother’s country at the senior level.
“It will be an honour representing Argentina, just as it was at the time playing for Spain,” Garnacho said in an interview with the club. “I’m very happy and also very excited.”
The “wonderkid” is training alongside the likes of Lionel Messi in La Albiceleste’s camp, who he called his “idol” in his latest Instagram post with the Paris Saint-Germain forward.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be playing in the same team alongside star players of that kind of level,” Garnacho said about playing with the likes of Messi, Angel Di Maria, and Angel Correa in the national team. “I’m going to learn loads from them, grab the opportunity, and improve as a player.”
Nick Cox, United’s Head of Academy, expressed his satisfaction for the youngster to earn his first senior call-up in an interview with the club.
“I know he’s proud of his heritage,” Cox said. “For us, we’re just really proud that there’s a young boy that’s developing with us that has reached a lovely moment in his career, which is selection for a senior side.”
Scaloni made it clear during a press conference on Thursday that each of the seven youth players included in Argentina’s squad will not be blocked from choosing to represent another country instead, such as Spain in Garnacho’s case.
“These kids, no matter how much they play with the Argentine national team shirt tomorrow, they are not blocked to play with Argentina,” Scaloni said. “We want these kids to come, to train with the Argentina U20 team, with the senior team, to see what the atmosphere with the Argentina national team is, the training ground at Ezeiza, and, in the next call-up, they have the opportunity to decide.”
However, it was reported Thursday afternoon that the winger had unfollowed the Spanish FA on Instagram and removed all mentions of the team in his account, per journalist Roy Nemer on Twitter. Garnacho added the Argentine FA instead, which could hint that he will permanently switch his allegiance to Argentina.
Scaloni sung the praises of the youth players in the squad, saying that Garnacho and the six others have impressed the coaching staff so far.
“These are kids that are good, who can make the leap in quality, and we can call them up, nothing else,” Scaloni said. “Seeing the conditions they have, we cannot look the other way, and we have to take advantage of the fact that they can play for our national team. We are very happy with how they have been.”
Besides impressing on the pitch, it is safe to say Garnacho is enjoying himself off the field with the national team, as seen in this video of him signing in front of the squad.
As part of the Argentina national team initiation, here is Alejandro Garnacho of Manchester United singing. pic.twitter.com/Et0ixZmCjT— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 24, 2022
Garnacho is one of six Reds representing their countries at the senior level during the international break, along with Zidane Iqbal (Iraq), Anthony Elanga (Sweden), Hannibal Mejbri (Tunisia), Facundo Pellistri (Uruguay), and Dylan Levitt (Wales). An additional 15 United players are playing for their youth national teams.
With the way that his career seems to be going at the moment, it doesn’t seem it will be long before Garnacho will be playing alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo in United’s first team as well as with Messi internationally.
Garnacho has the opportunity to earn his first Argentina cap against Venezuela on Friday and Ecuador on Tuesday, March 29.