‘It’s a big step’ – Ten Hag hints that Man Utd starlet doesn’t deserve place at World Cup

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag watches his side Credit: Alamy
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag watches his side Credit: Alamy

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag has hinted that it’s too early for Argentina winger Alejandro Garnacho to be going to a World Cup.

Despite being born in Spain and playing for their under-18 side, Garnacho has represented Argentina under-20s five times this year.

And now Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has selected him in his extended Argentina squad for the World Cup in Qatar, which starts later this month.

Garnacho will find out on Sunday whether he has made the final cut after only making nine senior career appearances for Man Utd.

The 18-year-old has featured more for the Red Devils this season and he came off the bench against Aston Villa in the League Cup last night to contribute two assists in a 4-2 victory.

That comes shortly after Ten Hag gave him his first Premier League start in a 3-1 loss to Villa over the weekend with Garnacho fairly ineffective.

Speaking about Garnacho’s World Cup prospects, Ten Hag said: “It’s difficult to say. I don’t know all the available Argentina players, of course I know a lot of players from Argentina, what is available for them from 26.

“And the other thing is it’s a big step to go to a World Cup, where the best players in the world come together, it’s a big step.

“I don’t know if that’s the right step for him. I think he has to keep his head clean, stay calm, work hard and develop, I think go from game to game.”

After a drab first half between Villa and Man Utd on Thursday night, which ended 0-0, the second period exploded into life when Anthony Martial cancelled out a Ollie Watkins opener within minutes of the restart.

Villa then went ahead via a Diogo Dalot own-goal before goals from Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay put United through to the next round of the cup.

Man Utd will face Burnley in the last 16 of the competition and Ten Hag gave his thoughts after the game, he said: “I think we made good steps in the last months with our mentality and this is further evidence of it but we are not there, where we want to be.

“Sunday was really poor. It can’t happen. We have to blame ourselves for the performance. But what we see after such a performance on Sunday, to fight back today, even when twice down, is good and a real compliment for tonight.”

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