Manchester United’s up and down 2022 was a rollercoaster ride for many first team players.
For Alejandro Garnacho it was a ride in one direction only – straight up.
Garnacho began the year as an under-18s player and ends it as a first team regular. What a journey it has been.
The 18-year-old played alongside his idol Cristiano Ronaldo, and even trained with Lionel Messi when he earned a surprise Argentina call-up.
Garnacho ended the year starting the final Premier League game of the year as United beat Wolves 1-0 at Molineux.
Garnacho hails ‘best year of my life’
Garnacho began 2022 starring in the FA Youth Cup, a competition which helped prepare him for first team stardom.
The teenager wowed crowds at Old Trafford with his performances through the team’s run to the final, before netting a brace to clinch the trophy. It was United’s first win in the competition since 2011.
A first team call quickly followed but it was not until late October when he really made his mark, under new manager Erik ten Hag.
After scoring two winning goals, Garnacho is entrenched as a first team player, and understandably, he is pleased with his rise, hailing the ‘best year of my life’.
United’s next breakout star keen to follow
Garnacho was United’s breakout star of 2022 so who will be the one to follow in 2023?
Erik ten Hag dropped a hint against Wolves when he named 17-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo on the bench, and not for the first time.
Mainoo was part of United’s FA Youth Cup winning side along with Garnacho and scored for the first team in a friendly against Cadiz in December.
He looks primed for a big 2023 and he sent a message too, celebrating an ideal way to sign off for the year.
Dan is a Manchester United supporter who has worked in online publishing for more than 10 years. He writes exclusively for United In Focus, leading the site’s growth in news, analysis and match coverage, and is also head of sport content for GRV Media.