Last Updated: March 14, 2023, 11:12 IST
Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho (AP)
Manchester United youngster Alejandro Garnacho was spotted limping while wearing a protected boot on his right leg
Ahead of their UEFA Europa League big game, Manchester United have suffered a massive blow. Their young forward Alejandro Garnacho picked up an unfortunate ankle injury during a Premier League home fixture against Southampton on March 12. After the match ended in a goalless draw, Garnacho was captured leaving Old Trafford on crutches. In a photograph dropped by sports journalist Mark Critchley on Twitter, the 18-year-old winger can be spotted limping while wearing a protected boot on his right leg. With the photograph going viral, questions have been raised regarding Garnacho’s availability in the upcoming games.
United boss Erik Ten Hag subbed in Alejandro Garnacho late in the 73rd minute of the Southampton game, replacing Jadon Sancho. Minutes after coming on the pitch, the winger endured a brutal yet clean challenge on his right ankle from opponent side-back Kyle Walker-Peters, leaving him in unbearable pain. However, after long medical attention, Garnacho got back to his feet, but only to play for a few moments.
Soon after realising Garnacho’s discomfort, Ten Hag opted to take him off in order to prevent his wound from getting worse. The United manager brought in Fred in the place of the Argentine footballer, who then hobbed along the sideline and entered the tunnel with much disappointment.
While fans were left concerned about Garnacho’s injury, Ten Hag addressed the topic during the post-match press conference. According to the United manager, the reason behind taking off the youngster was not only his injury but also part of the strategy at that moment. Acknowledging the “bad tackle” on Garnacho, Ten Hag said, “In the end, they (Southampton) brought on another striker, big and tall Paul Onuachu and I didn’t want to go for risk as we were already downsized to 10 men. I didn’t want to go with players who were just 90 per cent. That’s why I called him off but I think his injury is not too bad.”
Keeping aside his club career, the ankle injury can cost Alejandro Garnacho his international debut. The 18-year-old has just received his maiden call-up to don the Argentina kit and is expected to feature in the upcoming friendlies against Panama and Curacao.
Looking at the Southampton match, Manchester United went 10-man down in the 34th minute with Casemiro leaving the pitch after being shown the red card. It turned out to be a game-changing event as the Red Devils looked to be struggling in the midfield. Even after sharing the same number of on-target attempts, no team could find the net. In their coming assignment, United will travel to Spain for the return leg of the Europa League Round of 16 fixtures against Real Betis, scheduled for March 16. The first leg between these two saw the English club winning 4-1.
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