ALEJANDRO GARNACHO’S poor attitude delayed his Manchester United break, Bruno Fernandes revealed.
But now the Argentine winger has knuckled down and earned his first-team opportunity.
Garnacho, 18, joined the Red Devils academy from Atletico Madrid in 2020 and made his debut as an injury-time substitute against Chelsea in April.
He had to wait until October 27, though, to get his first start after eventually winning over new boss Erik ten Hag.
And the Argentina Under-20 international grabbed his first goal in senior football with the winner at Real Sociedad last night.
Garnacho latched on to Cristiano Ronaldo’s through ball and fired into the top corner – before copying his idol’s celebration.
The 1-0 win was not enough for United to top their Europa League group – meaning they could face Barcelona, Ajax or Juventus in the first knockout round.
But Fernandes heaped praise on his teenage team-mate for turning his mentality around in recent months after issues over the summer.
The Portuguese playmaker said: “He was good but he knows we expect at lot from him. He’s still really young. He’s doing really well.
“At the beginning of the season, not at his best, on the pre-season tour he didn’t have the best attitude that he should have and that’s why he didn’t get his chances until now.
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“He didn’t get his chances before because he was not good enough in training and not good enough mentality-wise.
“Now he’s getting chances because he’s changed that, he’s training better, he’s having a better attitude and he deserves his chances.
“Everyone is really happy for him and pleased with his goal.”
It was reported Ten Hag was unhappy with Garnacho when he walked out of a training session with his boot lacces untied, said to be a sign of his “lax” attitude.
He even confirmed publicly he was “not happy with him” but again reiterated after his full debut his attitude and resilience had improved.
Manchester United legend and BT Sport pundit Paul Scholes believes Garnacho has eaten a slice of humble pie – after training with Lionel Messi and is pleased by the transformation.
Scholes added: “He said that was pre-season, didn’t he, so he was obviously a little bit big for his boots in the summer.
“I think he went away with Argentina, maybe playing with Messi, he came back and thought this is me, I’m part of this team.
“He’s a young lad, he’s going to learn. His attitude has changed and we’re seeing the benefits of that, now he looks a really top-class young player.”
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