Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United’s interim manager, has included teenager Alejandro Garnacho in first-team training ahead of the weekend’s match against Everton.
The 17-year-old has yet to play for Manchester United’s first team, but he can already boast of training with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. As United prepared for weekend action, Ronaldo returned from illness, while Messi was joined in the Argentina squad by Garnacho during the last international break.
Playing for Spain’s under-18s before being courted by Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, the Madrid-born teenager has already been the subject of an international tug-of-war. Rangnick has given the midfielder a chance to shine with United’s senior players, proving that international employers aren’t the only ones who see his potential.
Rangnick has given a lot of opportunities to young players since taking over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Hannibal also took part in first-team training ahead of the Everton match, while others have seen action in the league and abroad.
The biggest success story has been Anthony Elanga, who made his debut under Solskjaer before stepping up under Rangnick. He scored three goals this season, including one in the Champions League away at Atletico Madrid, and he made his senior Sweden debut in the recent World Cup qualification play-offs.
Garnacho has yet to play for United’s senior team, however he has played for their youth teams. In Premier League 2, he has two goals from ten appearances, and he also appeared as a substitute in the Papa John’s Trophy, replacing Zidane Iqbal, another kid who broke through under Rangnick.
Garnacho’s elevation comes at a pivotal point in United’s history. Rangnick’s temporary term was always set to end after the 2021-22 season, but after “advanced conversations” with the Dutchman, the club is said to be on the approach of announcing Erik ten Hag as their next permanent manager.
Rangnick, who joined the team just after the new year after a stint with Lokomotiv Moscow, had long been expected to work as a consultant for the next two seasons. However, additional specifics about the obligations have emerged, and the former RB Leipzig manager may only work six days each month.
With United’s chances of finishing in the top four diminishing fast, the promotion of players like Garnacho might be considered as an attempt to breathe new life into their season. They are in seventh place with eight games remaining, three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have a game in hand and are prepared to welcome Rangnick’s men at the Emirates Stadium on April 23.