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Erik ten Hag reveals key Man United player development which influenced new XI in Aston Villa win



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Credit: Man Utd

Erik ten Hag believes that Alejandro Garnacho’s development now means he can succeed on the right wing after his influential display during Manchester United’s 3-2 win against Aston Villa.

Garnacho, 19, scored twice as United produced a classic comeback on Boxing Day to secure an important three points.

The Argentine started the game on the right wing for the first time since coming into the first team. He did not play there during his time in the youth academy and only made several substitute appearances on that flank.

Earlier in the season, Ten Hag instead opted to move Marcus Rashford to that side whilst keeping Garnacho on the left as it is his more comfortable side. Rashford has played on both flanks across his career but is also clearly more comfortable on the left.

After the win against Aston Villa, the United manager admitted that Garnacho is developing the ability to start on the right and believed he was an ‘absolute threat’ against Unai Emery’s side.

“Previously as well, he was almost more comfortable on the left but I think he can play on the right as well,” Ten Hag said. “Today, I think he was on that right side over 90 minutes an absolute threat, scored twice.

“But I think the whole frontline played very good. They invested so much in the runs behind, the timings were so good and it was continuing a threat for the opponent.”

Garnacho looked more comfortable driving inside with the ball, and he also has the turn of pace to go on the outside too, something that has been criticised when Antony starts.

However, Ten Hag still believes that his attack can be ‘fluid’ and that Rashford is able to succeed on the right wing as well.

“I think he (Rashford) played very good but he was ill during the period,” Ten Hag said of Rashford’s time out of the team. “Also, he had one or two games that we prefer to play Garnacho over the left side because he deserved it.

“He showed he was not only a threat, he had key actions, assists, shots on target, scored goals. So there is also internal competition, but we have to see how we fit them in together.

“Today we played Alejandro on the right side but can also be fluid and I know Rashford will also score from the right-hand side.”

For the upcoming clash against Nottingham Forest, however, it is expected that Ten Hag’s front three remains the same in personnel and setup after all three contributed to goals for the first time in a long while.