Pundit urges Man United to take classic Sir Alex Ferguson approach to ‘protect’ young star

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Manchester United need to do everything in their power to manage and protect Alejandro Garnacho in order for the youngster to fulfil his potential.

That is the view of former Aston Villa and Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore, who believes Garnacho has ‘the world at his feet’ following what has been a hugely impressive breakthrough.

Since forcing his way through the Red Devils’ prestigious youth academy, Garnacho, 18, has become one of the club’s most exciting talents in recent memory.

Making his senior debut less than a year ago, the young South American has already featured in 29 matches, across all competitions, scoring four goals and providing another five assists along the way.

The teenager’s latest contribution came earlier in the week when United hosted David Moyes’ West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round. Scoring a vital 90th-minute goal, Garnacho’s effort saw his team complete an important comeback before teammate Fred added a third just before the final whistle.

Speaking about how Garnacho has burst onto the scene, as well as what the future may hold for him, Collymore believes manager Erik Ten Hag will need to replicate how Sir Alex Ferguson treated Wayne Rooney in order to get the very best out of the 18-year-old.

“I really like him,” Collymore said in an exclusive interview.

“He’s aggressive and technically, he’s really sound. He’s a very raw young lad, so Erik Ten Hag and Manchester United will have to afford him a lot of patience. Look how long it’s taken Marcus Rashford to develop into the player he is today for example, it won’t happen overnight for Garnacho but the future is really bright for him. He’s got the world at his feet.

“The most important thing for him over the next few years will be having his game time properly managed and there’s no manager better for that than Ten Hag. The player himself probably won’t be aware, but I guarantee you Ten Hag and his coaching staff will already have a plan in place for the youngster. They’d have had conversations about giving him minutes in this game, withdrawing him for that game etc. and that kind of management will serve him very well because long gone are the days of just chucking a player in and expecting them to play 20 or 25 games.

“The demands of footballers these days are a lot higher, especially in the day and age of social media. Garnacho will see both the hype and the criticism he’s receiving online and it’s the club’s job to protect him from that as much as possible. Sir Alex Ferguson was an expert at that when it came to young, raw players. Wayne Rooney was a perfect example – Ferguson shielded him as much as possible and made sure his focus was where it needed to be and I expect Ten Hag to take a similar approach with Garnacho.”

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