OPINION Alejandro Garnacho has been told his Manchester United objective for the season

Garnacho has been handed a tough mission by his Man United boss, one he might take more than one campaign to complete.
It’s been a seismic nine months for Alejandro Garnacho, both on and off the pitch.

The teenager made his full senior club debut in October and has scored twice by the time the World Cup break came around. One of his highlights of the season came shortly after the pause, teeing up Marcus Rashford’s winner in January’s Manchester derby.

He was set for his Argentina debut in March before an ankle injury dashed that dream for the short-term. When Garnacho returned he had just penned a new five-year deal and announced the pregnancy of his girlfriend.

The winger has since made his senior Argentina debut in June’s internationals and is due to be bestowed a new squad number as he switches from the No.49. Life moves fast.

Garnacho is now a fully-fledged first-team player. His inclusion in the pre-season US tour squad is secure and this season there will be an expectation to deliver, not just a hope. He certainly has the talents

Five goals and assists denoted a fantastic breakthrough year and he was the one leading the attack when he came on in the curtain-closing FA Cup final with United 2-1 down. Undoubtedly, his greatest impact came when he started on the sidelines.

Just two of his 10 goal contributions came from starts and neither of them came in his five Premier League line-up inclusions. It’s obvious to all United fans what he needs to do going into next season and Erik ten Hag spelled it out back in May.

Speaking after the final day win over Fulham, he said of Garnacho: "I've spoken to him and that's the next step for him to be a starting XI player. We know he has a huge impact coming from the bench.

"We want to see it [from the start] and to be fair, he's already shown this season several times when he's started, he can do a really good job for the team."

It reiterated similar comments made just a few weeks prior, shortly after his new contract.

Ten Hag said: "Now he has finalised his youth, now he has to compete for the jersey and for the starting XI. So that’s another challenge for him and another test. You have to act and perform every day, especially in every game."

That is the challenge for Garnacho. He is still 19 so there should not be too much pressure placed on him. The decision to hand Mount the No.7 over Garnacho was a wise one.

The youngster, though, is showing signs of potentially becoming a superstar and has the fearlessness needed to continue to propel further forward. But the mission ahead of him is not easy.

Marcus Rashford - 30 goals last season - is best when fielded on the left and a new incoming striker would keep him there. Garnacho is surely ahead of Jadon Sancho in the pecking order but his greater challenge will be to rival Rashford for that starting spot. Not easy.

He may well get enough minutes when Rashford is required up front but that is not the aim set by Ten Hag - he wants him to start games. Fortunately, there is no time limit to his quest just yet.

It may take longer than one season to complete, even if he wishes to show versatility by being played on the right - but Antony seems pretty unmovable considering he is Ten Hag’s most expensive signing so far.

It’s a big mountain Garnacho is facing but he was given a five-year contract for a reason and Ten Hag will give him time. Garnacho has been given his objective for this season but it may also be his goal for the campaign after too.

But if he has another year like he has over the past 12 months, never say never.

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