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Man Utd verdict: Garnacho shows skills that can turn him into a household name as even Cristiano Ronald is impressed

FIRST there was a bear hug from Cristiano Ronaldo seconds before kick–off.

Around 14 minutes later one of the greatest players the game has ever seen was applauding Alejandro Garnacho with gusto.

18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho impressed on his full debut against Sheriff

For a budding new star had just announced himself at Old Trafford, the 18-year-old making his first start for Manchester United.

And if he carries on as he did against Sheriff, he’ll become a household name one day too.

Before Erik ten Hag took over as manager in the summer the club’s coaches had been talking up the kid over the two years since he was bought from Atletico Madrid for £420,000.

There will be plenty talking about him now.

That applause from Ronaldo came after the Spanish-born attacker with no fear in either foot cut in from his left wing starting spot and went past right back Renan Guedes like he didn’t exist.

His low cross to the near post would easily have been turned home by CR7 had it not been for a desperate clearing lunge a yard out.

Still, the supporters, most of whom had heard of this feisty youngster with a look of Ryan Giggs but never watched him in action, were off their seats.

For they knew a good thing when they saw it.

Garnacho, while capped at U18 level by Spain, switched to Argentina, the country of his mother’s birth.

And the Argies know a good thing when they see it, too.

For while he has so far been capped only at U20 level, he has already been training alongside Lionel Messi and the rest of those who next month start their World Cup bid.

He made his first team debut in the Prem last season, playing the last minute of a 1- 1 draw with Chelsea before getting 11 minutes against Crystal Palace.

Ten Hag put him on for a few more minutes against Sheriff in Moldova as United won 2–0 and before that he played the last 19 minutes of the 1–0 home defeat to Real Sociedad.

Slowly, but very surely, the Dutchman is introducing the teenager who last season won his club’s coveted Jimmy Murphy Trophy and grabbed two goals as United beat Nottingham Forest to lift the FA Youth Cup for the first time since 2011.

In the moments leading up to this Europa League clash ten Hag was asked if the occasion was not a great opportunity for Garnacho to continue his education.

But he replied : “This is not a pitch for learning.

Ronaldo supported the starlet on a wholesome Europa League night at Old Trafford

“When you are picked for this team you have to show that you are ready and that you can play in this environment.”

Garnacho very much showed he is ready, feisty and ever willing to show the trickery that even has an ice man like ten Hag warming to him.

Early in the second half he waltzed around defenders having killed dead with the outside of his right foot a ball that looked to be going out of play.

It was he who started the move from which Ronaldo thought he had killed the game before his 62nd minute volley as ruled out.

At the start of this season he swapped his No75 shirt for No49.

The No7 currently worn by Ronaldo will surely become vacant before long, given that while he was brought back into the fold last night after walking out on his team.

Ten Hag will be happy to see the back of him – next summer or maybe even in January.

That will leave United’s iconic shirt up for grabs – the one worn by George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.

Don’t be surprised is Garnacho is wearing it next.

Certainly few of those who gave him a standing ovation when he was replaced 12 minutes from the end will be

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