Ten Hag could ease Man Utd’s Antony blow by starting 5 ft 11 “game-changer” vs Leeds – opinion

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been handed a number of selection headaches ahead of tonight’s clash with Leeds United, with the Dutchman having confirmed that the likes of Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial and Antony will miss the visit of the Yorkshire side.

The loss of the latter man, in particular, will ensure that the former Ajax head coach is forced to shuffle his pack in the attacking ranks, with the fleet-footed Brazilian having been a regular fixture in the side of late.

Although the 22-year-old is not to everyone’s liking – having been described as a “bluffer” by talkSPORT pundit Gabby Agbonlahor – he clearly possesses the trust of his manager, with 21 starts in all competitions under his belt this season.

With the winger’s absence freeing up a spot in the forward line, Ten Hag may well be contemplating whether to hand a rare start to teenage starlet, Alejandro Garnacho, with the 18-year-old having made remarkable progress in the first-team already this season.

The Argentine youth international has two goals and five assists to his name in just 23 senior appearances for the Red Devils to date, having proven himself something of a “game-changer” on the flanks of late, according to Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst.

A player who is seemingly not overawed by the big occasion – having registered an assist off the bench in the Manchester derby last month – the confident gem would likely relish the chance of terrorising the managerless Whites this evening, in front of what will likely be a raucous Old Trafford crowd.

The youngster’s quality was evident last term as he scored seven goals and provided three assists in just six games during the club’s FA Youth Cup run, with former youth coach Neil Wood stating at the time:

“When he’s running at players he’s a threat. He’s the type of player who gets the crowd excited, he’s a dribbler, he likes to run at players, but he’s got a lot of improving and developing to do.”

It does appear those improvements have since been made – despite question marks over his attitude earlier this season – with Ten Hag having revealed in his pre-match press conference that Garnacho’s rapid rise may well have altered the club’s transfer plans moving forward.

Although the United boss did take the bold decision to withdraw the electric asset during the recent win over Crystal Palace following Casemiro’s dismissal – with Garnacho having only entered the fray as a substitute around the hour mark – he could make another big call and put in the teen ace from the start this time around.

That move may require a re-shuffle in attack – with Marcus Rashford or Bruno Fernandes likely to take on Antony’s role on the right wing in order to accommodate Garnacho on the opposite side – although the 5 foot 11 ace could well prove worth it as the man to make the difference in the final third.


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