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Ten Hag hails Garnacho wonder goal but says too soon for Rooney, Ronaldo comparisons

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Premier League - Everton v Manchester United - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - November 26, 2023 Manchester United's Alejandro Garnacho scores their first goal Action Images via REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff Acquire Licensing Rights  

Alejandro Garnacho’s spectacular strike for Manchester United on Sunday could well be the goal of the season, his manager Erik ten Hag said, but he said it was too soon to be comparing his young player with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 19-year-old scored with a stunning overhead kick in the third minute to fire United to a 3-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park, leaping to meet Diogo Dalot’s cross with an acrobatic scissor kick into the top right corner that instantly drew comparisons with former United striker Rooney.

“The season, still many games to play, but probably already the goal of the season,” Ten Hag told reporters. “It was incredible.”

The Argentinian teen said he himself couldn’t believe he had scored.

“I didn’t see how I scored, I just listened to the crowd and said ‘Oh my god,’” Garnacho told NBC. “One of the best goals I’ve scored, I’m very happy.”

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The strike echoed goals by Rooney and fellow former United striker Cristiano Ronaldo, particularly Rooney’s bicycle-kick stunner during the 2011 Manchester derby.

“I can’t believe it,” former United captain Gary Neville said on the Sky Sports broadcast. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a stadium where I’ve seen an overhead kick as good as that – and I was there on the day that Rooney scored his in the Manchester Derby.”

Ten Hag, however, was uncomfortable comparing Garnacho so quickly with two of the club’s biggest names of recent years.

“Don’t compare,” said the manager, who served a one-game suspension on Sunday and so was not on the touchline.

“I don’t think it’s right. They all have their own identity, but for Garnacho to go that way, he has to work very hard. And you have to do it on a consistent basis. And so far, he’s not.

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“But he has definitely high potential to do some amazing things. It is not the first time we saw this. But if you want to be a player like Rooney or Ronaldo, you have to score 20, 25 goals in the Premier League and that’s not easy to get. But potential, he has.”

The goal silenced the Goodison Park crowd except for the travelling United supporters who loudly sang “Viva Garnacho.”

Even Everton manager Sean Dyche marvelled at what he called a “lifetime goal.”

-Reuters

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Sancho back in training with Man United after positive meeting with Ten Hag

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Jadon Sancho was back training with Manchester United for the first time in 10 months, with a club source confirming the winger and manager Erik ten Hag have resolved their differences following their public fallout last year.

Sancho and Ten Hag had a positive meeting at Carrington Training Centre and the two have decided to draw a line under last season’s drawn-out argument, the club source said.

The 24-year-old Sancho made just three appearances for United last season, spending the second half of the campaign on loan to Borussia Dortmund after his relationship with Ten Hag soured in September.

Ten Hag had left the winger out of his squad for United’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal, saying Sancho’s performances in training had not warranted a place in his team. Sancho immediately lashed out on social media, accusing Ten Hag of making him a “scapegoat.”

He was banished from the first team and trained with United’s youth squad before returning to his former club Dortmund in January, where he shone during their Champions League semi-final victory against Paris St Germain, earning praise from Ten Hag. Dortmund were beaten by Real Madrid in the final.

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“(Sancho) is a very good player… he showed why Manchester United bought him and he showed he represents a high value for Manchester United, which is good,” Ten Hag told reporters following Dortmund’s 1-0 win over PSG in the first leg.

“I’m happy for Jadon, for the performance, and we’ll see what is going to happen in the future.”

Sancho will not travel with the team to Norway for their pre-season opener against Rosenborg since he began training later than the other players but the club source said he would be available for selection after that.

-Reuters

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Another Nigerian blood replaces Ndidi at Leicester

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Wilfred Ndidi who has just left Leicester City will have another Nigerian blood replacing him.

Leicester has never been without a Nigerian since Ahmed Musa joined in 2016. Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho joined in 2017.

Another Nigerian blood, Caleb Okoli, a centre back, has just been signed from Italian  Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract. Born in Itali, Caleb Okoli is Igbo and Yoruba by descent.

The 22-year-old, who spent the last season on loan at Frosinone Calcio, represented Italy at the European Under-21 Championship last year.

“I think now is the right moment (for me) to make a step forward and a very big one. I’m very happy with the choice I made, so I’m very excited to start in the Premier League,” Okoli said in a statement. The clubs did not disclose financial details of the deal.

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Ruud van Nistelrooy returns to Man United

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United legend Van Nistelrooy is expected to be announced as one of Erik ten Hag's assistants

Manchester United legend, Ruud van Nistelrooy has been spotted being driven into Carrington, the training ground of Manchester United.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (left) and Rene Hake arrived at Manchester United’s training ground

Reports have it that the Dutchman is set to be appointed as one of Erik ten Hag’s new assistant coaches.

He played for Manchester United from 2001 to 2006.

Now  48, he reportedly turned down job offer from Burnley to return to his old club, having previously led PSV Eindhoven to second place in the Eredivisie and victory in the Dutch Cup.

He is being joined by Rene Hake, 52, who was persuaded to give up his job as Go Ahead Eagles manager despite leading the Deventer-based club into Europe for only the third time in their history.

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