Mainoo, Garnacho and Hojlund – The future of Manchester United

Ever since their joint celebration after Alejandro Garnacho’s second goal against West Ham last week, fans have begun to get pretty excited at the prospect of what this trio can go on and achieve for the club ahead of a new era for Manchester United on and off the pitch.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS will have many hard decisions to make once their 25% takeover has been ratified by the Premier League, but building the future of Manchester United around Kobbie Mainoo (18), Alejandro Garnacho (19) and Rasmus Hojlund (21) will not be one of them. United now have a chance to build the team around three of the biggest talents in European football, something any club would be envious of especially with the astronomical transfer fees that are now being spent around Europe to sign these young players.

Kobbie Mainoo is an academy product who has been at the club since he was 9-years-old, a player who was destined for this stage after several years of amazing performances for the academy at every age group. Mainoo had an impressive Premier League debut against Leicester last February which left fans wanting to see more of him, but his breakthrough season has really been 2023/2024.

The Stockport kid started off brilliantly in pre-season before picking up an injury against Real Madrid which left him out of action for two months. Since his return to the team he has put in a series of impressive performances namely at Anfield and Goodison Park, but he really announced himself to the Premier League against Wolves at Molineux with a sublime injury time winner which showed every ounce his unbelievable talents that he possesses, with that memorable strike he joined fellow teammates Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho in the list of teenagers to score injury time winners for United in the top flight.

If Mainoo keeps performing like this he will be a mainstay in the United midfield for the next decade and could well be in the squad for the Euros this summer playing alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham where he certainly wouldn’t look out of place.

Alejandro Garnacho was signed from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2020 for a small compensation fee, credit must go to John Mourtough for bringing Garnacho to Old Trafford for a ridiculously low fee for someone who is now one of the most exciting wingers in Europe. Garnacho also starred alongside Mainoo in the FA Youth Cup-winning team in 2022, a success that captured the hearts of many United fans.

After his breakout season last year much was expected from Garnacho this time out. He was given his chance from the start early in the season, although struggled to make an impact in a team that wasn’t performing. Then his stunning bicycle kick in a 3-0 win over Everton changed everything. That majestic strike signalled the start of Garnacho’s season and gave him a much needed confidence boost, and he followed that up immediately with a brilliant finish against Galatasaray for his first Champions League goal, after 2 goals from the right wing in the inspirational comeback win against Aston Villa on Boxing Day Garnacho has made that position his own with some brilliant attacking displays.

Embed from Getty Images

However, since his move to the right wing, Garnacho has managed 4 goals, 1 assist and has created 18 chances which has really improved the team’s performances in the final third after the well-documented problems with the right wing position at United. His wo goals against West Ham at the weekend show that this run of brilliant form isn’t going to end anytime soon for the young Argentine who has the potential to join the list of iconic wingers who are adored by United fans of all ages.

Rasmus Hojlund was a big money signing for £64m and that deal has the potential to rise to £72m, but if he continues his form and keeps improving year on year it could look like a bargain considering the prices being touted around for some of the strikers in Europe at the moment. Due to his large transfer fee Hojlund arrived with much expectation that he would straight away solve our long standing desperation for a number 9 who could finish chances consistently and rack up a substantial amount of goals which would take the team to another level after the struggles in this department last season.

This was always going to be unrealistic, and a back problem which further delayed his debut caused frustration amongst fans who again were watching Marcus Rashford lead the line, despite his best form always coming from the left wing.

Hojlund finally made his debut against Arsenal where he showed some real promise in his 20 minute cameo. He bagged his first goal against Bayern Munich in a 4-3 loss out in Bavaria, but he was off the mark and fans were excited for what was to come. Two goals vs Galatasaray. Then another brace against Copenhagen had him at the top of the scoring charts in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Hojlund went through a 15 game Premier League scoring drought before he netted the winner in the comeback victory over Villa, a moment which brought an outpour of emotion and passion from the young striker.

Just like Garnacho’s goal vs Everton, this was the catalyst Hojlund needed to kickstart his United career and since then the goals have flowed, much to the delight of the fans. The young Dane now 5 goals and 2 assists in his last 6 outings, while also becoming the youngest player to score in four consecutive Premier League games for United and bring his tally for the season into double figures.

Finally for Hojlund, he is breaking the right sort of records now and he can kick on from here to become one of Europe’s elite strikers in the years to come, and with that helping United get back to winning the big trophies.

Patience will be required from fans at certain times with this young trio but the future of Manchester United is in safe hands with these three players lining out at Old Trafford together.

Subscribe to the Stretty News podcast Strettycast for weekly episodes on Manchester United. You can also sign up to the ad-free Stretty Newsletter. Get the Stretty News verdict on all matters Manchester United.  

More Stories Alejandro Garnacho Kobbie Mainoo Manchester United Rasmus Hojlund