Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has warned Alejandro Garnacho he needs to make sure his attitude and lifestyle are right if he wants to make a sustained impact at Old Trafford.
The 18-year-old substitute produced an outstanding half-hour cameo to help United beat Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup and book a home fourth-round tie with Burnley next month.
Villa led twice through Ollie Watkins and a Diogo Dalot own goal in a thrilling second half that followed a desperate first.
But they had no answer to Garnacho’s direct running as the Argentina wide-man became the youngest United player to claim two assists in a game as he created goals for Bruno Fernandes and then Scott McTominay, with a brilliant long pass into the heart of the visitors’ box.
That positive contribution is in stark contrast to his experience on United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, when he was prevented from playing in matches as a disciplinary measure after twice turning up late for team meetings.
And, while Ten Hag praised Garnacho for his performance against Villa, the Dutchman’s words came with a clear warning.
“It depends on his approach, on his attitude,” said Ten Hag. “If he keeps his attitude and wants to improve every day and when he is doing the right things in his lifestyle, it is possible.
“You can see he has capabilities and can contribute to attacking football. Also he has something, he can break open a compact defending line.
“All teams that want to attack, that want to play in opponents’ half, they need players like that. He can outplay them and also in the final decisions he can do the right things.”