For a talent as prestigious as Garnacho, there is usually a clamour for them to start as often as possible. Manchester City fans were practically begging Pep Guardiola to play Phil Foden more in the early years of his career. Manchester United are famed for their production of young talent and there is an expectation for an academy graduate to always be in the team.
Yet, with Garnacho, the demands for him to be in the starting XI were relatively minimal. That isn&apost to downplay his talent or his adoration from the fanbase. There was a desperation for the exciting winger to be handed the No.7 shirt in the summer and he is widely regarded as the most exciting member of Erik ten Hag&aposs squad.
But the vast bulk of the positive things Garnacho has done on the pitch have all been off the bench. When he has started, he has tended to underwhelm.
That&aposs no great shame. He is still just 19 years old and still growing accustomed to the rhythms and physical demands of senior football. Unless you&aposre Jude Bellingham, no teenager should be expected to dominate matches. But it has been noticeable just how much Garnacho&aposs impact has been dulled when starting matches from the off rather than coming on off the bench, where his pace, skill and directness play havoc with tired legs.
Garnacho has played 51 times for United with 17 of them starts and the rest substitute appearances. He has only managed to score or assist in three of those 16 starts. But perhaps more revealing of Garnacho&aposs lack of effectiveness when starting games is how rarely he completes them.
The Argentine has only played a full 90 minutes for United five times. On 10 occasions he has been substituted by the 67th minute and twice has been hooked at half-time. For Garnacho to truly realise his talent he will sooner or later have to start performing for full games rather than in bright cameos, but there are positive signs that it is starting to happen.
Two of those five full 90 minutes have actually come in the last week and in back-to-back games for the first time. Garnacho played the full 90 minutes against both Fulham and FC Copenhagen which, even before considering his performance in either game, is a good sign that he is becoming capable of handling the strain of intense minutes on the pitch.
Neither performance was particularly stellar in an attacking sense but they were encouraging in the work and maturity he displayed in them. Garnacho was particularly impressive in the disaster in Denmark.
Before United were introduced to 10 men, Garnacho was putting in an exciting attacking display down the left flank in the most cohesive Ten Hag&aposs side has looked all season. He created the second goal with a strong run in a blistering counter-attack (though he should have scored) and was a general menace.
Then when Marcus Rashford was sent off it became a different but just admirable performance. It would not have been surprising to see Garnacho taken off in the circumstances but he was trusted to stay on the pitch and worked incredibly hard in testing circumstances.