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Erik ten Hag attempted to discuss the progression of the game. He mentioned the pass from Victor Lindelof to Marcus Rashford, the run from Diogo Dalot, and the cross from deep. However, despite the contributions of others, goals scored through exceptional individual skill are usually not considered team efforts.
Ten Hag described the conclusion as astonishing and superb following the 3-0 win against Everton. He even suggested it could be considered the goal of the season.
Alejandro Garnacho may have still been in awe himself, nearly two hours later, when he declared it as “one of my top scoring moments.” It could have been a young person attempting to convey their thoughts in a foreign language while being filmed for television. Alternatively, he may have truly scored similar impressive goals at a lower level. If this is the case, we should search for any recorded evidence.
However, it was truly impressive. Positioned with his back to the Everton goal at a distance of approximately 15 yards, Garnacho struck with incredible force and accuracy. It was almost tempting to declare it as Manchester United’s greatest overhead kick. This title may have previously belonged to Wayne Rooney’s 2011 goal against Manchester City, especially since it secured a victory in a Manchester derby. Some could argue that the current Birmingham manager actually hit the ball with their shin.
Additional comparisons could also consider the goals scored by Manchester United legends while playing for other teams, such as Mark Hughes’ bicycle kick for Wales against Spain and Cristiano Ronaldo’s overhead kick for Real Madrid against Juventus.
Overhead kicks require a high level of skill and can often reveal a rare talent. While they are not exclusive to top players, some of the most impressive ones have been executed by Gareth Bale, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco van Basten, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho. However, there have also been noteworthy overhead kicks by Emre Can, Trevor Sinclair, Rory Delap, Christian Benteke, and Andy Carroll, who are not typically considered among the elite.
Currently, Garnacho does not possess this ability. However, his impressive speed and agility while dribbling suggest that he may eventually reach the ranks of the top players. Bruno Fernandes, the captain who provided guidance and support during a post-game interview, made a crucial distinction.
The Portuguese expressed high hopes for him, stating that he is not yet a top player but has a promising future and they have high expectations for him. The Portuguese will continue to support and push him to do even better, like scoring an incredible goal.
The ancestry may raise the inquiry about Garnacho’s potential. Manchester United has had talented young wingers in the past, such as Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, George Best, and Bobby Charlton. However, there have also been cautionary examples, like Adnan Januzaj who was a standout in Giggs’ last season but has only played 69 minutes for Sevilla at the age of 28 this season.
Next up is Garnacho: frequently used as a substitute to make an impact, but typically ineffective when he begins the game. His goal in the third minute was a surprising and well-executed moment. Like many young wingers, he is still trying to find a balance between consistency and productivity.
He was accompanied, but he came to Goodison Park with only one goal in 21 games. However, he left with a spectacular goal that was praised by the experienced home captain James Tarkowski as one of the best he has ever witnessed. Even the reserved manager Sean Dyche could not help but label it as an “absolute worldie.”
Ten Hag has been in charge of nurturing young potential at Ajax. On certain occasions, he has been strict with Garnacho by leaving him out of the 2022 pre-season tour due to his tardiness. While acknowledging the potential of the Argentinian player, he chooses not to compare him to United’s previous prodigies Rooney and Ronaldo.
“I don’t think it’s fair to compare them,” he stated. “Each player has their own unique identity. Garnacho has a lot of room for growth and improvement, but he must put in a lot of effort. Consistency is key, and so far he hasn’t achieved that. However, he has incredible potential to achieve great things. This is not the first time we’ve seen glimpses of it, but to reach the level of players like Rooney or Ronaldo, he must score 20 to 25 goals each season in the Premier League. That is no easy feat and requires hard work and dedication. There is still a lot for him to accomplish, but his potential is undeniable.”
The concept of potential can evoke feelings of excitement and anticipation, representing either the realization of brilliance or unfulfilled expectations. In the past year and a half, it has been evident that Garnacho possesses a significant amount of potential, and his goal at Everton was a remarkable display of this. However, the challenge for him now is to consistently translate this potential into greatness.