May 25, 2024
Manchester United

Things We Learned At Old Trafford – United Players

Manchester United finished the pre-season campaign with a 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.

There were, naturally, a lot of hot topics and talking points to come out of Erik ten Hag’s first Old Trafford game since taking charge of the club, with honours even following a goal apiece in the second half.

Amad opened the scoring before Alvaro Garcia levelled matters in front of a bumper crowd enjoying the chance to watch the Reds in action, in a game largely played in bright sunshine in Manchester.


Pre-match was all about a warm welcome for Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and, of course, new boss Ten Hag on his first time here as manager.

Cristiano Ronaldo was first out of the tunnel and applauded the fans on his opening outing of pre-season, with the supporters returning the gesture with gusto.

From our vantage point in the press box, we could also see a number of first-team squad players supporting their pals from the executive area.

The likes of David De Gea, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford were among them.


There was always going to be a great deal of scrutiny on new boys Martinez and Eriksen, with both making positive starts. Martinez headed away a corner inside the first minute and has a mix of composure on the ball, aligned with aggression in the tackle.

Eriksen played the pass of the half after receiving the ball from Tom Heaton and picking out Alejandro Garnacho before the Dane went agonisingly close to opening the scoring. Old Trafford rose to salute a goal but his shot flew narrowly off target.

The pair departed on the hour mark and can be more than satisfied with their efforts.


Ten Hag cut a sharp-looking figure in his smart suit and white trainers, patrolling the technical area and absorbing every minute detail of the play unfolding out on the pitch.

The Dutchman passed on instructions and encouragement and looked totally engrossed in the action, rarely switching his gaze away from the action.

He also took time to sit in the dugout (now closer to the Stretford End after the switch) to discuss tactical matters with his assistants, Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag, but he was very visible for long periods.

It’s a sight we’ll grow accustomed to but he has the aura of someone striving to be in total control of how the team performs.


Alejandro Garnacho was determined to impress from the outset and took his opportunity by performing with real purpose and flair.

Attacking defenders and showcasing his dribbling ability, the FA Youth Cup-winner got the crowd off their seats when gaining possession and was a real bright spark.

The Argentina Under-20 international still may be very raw but his talent, and personality for the big stage, were both apparent.

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