ERIK TEN HAG will spend the World Cup break thanking his lucky stars that Alejandro Garnacho was not included in the Argentina squad.
The teenager was left out by Lionel Scaloni despite putting himself into contention for a call-up this month.
A last-gasp winner at Fulham after he came off the bench means Garnacho now has two goals and two assists in his last four games.
And while it’s too late for a World Cup berth, Ten Hag can now look forward to six weeks working with the youngster.
Because Garnacho simply has to start for the Red Devils going forward.
The teenager came off the bench to show his killer instinct and do what his fellow team-mates couldn’t.
United squandered after chance at Craven Cottage, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Anthony Elanga and Scott McTominay all guilty of wasting glorious opportunities.
While Fulham have been superb under Marco Silva this season, and should have got a point today, United would likely have been made to pay if they had been facing a Big Six opponent.
Poor finishing is something Ten Hag needs to address, and fortunately for him he’s got six weeks of training to work on it.
Especially after wasted opportunities has felt like a running theme for Ten Hag so far this campaign.
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So despite Garnacho’s exploits, the gaffer will be keen to bolster his forward ranks in January.
Add in the uncertainty regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Martial’s proneness to injury, the need for reinforcements up top is clear.
The World Cup is the perfect opportunity for Ten Hag to go window shopping.
But, despite their erratic finishing, Ten Hag’s side still find themselves three points off the top four going into the break, with a game in hand.
United return with games against three out of the bottom seven in Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Bournemouth, followed by daunting clashes against Manchester City and Arsenal.
By then Garnacho could be an even scarier prospect, but in a perfect world Ten Hag will also have some extra firepower to line up alongside the Argentinian prodigy.