Marc Jurado is still awaiting his official Manchester United debut in a competitive game, but last night he made his first friendly appearance for the first team.
Posting a message on Instagram after United’s loss to Cadiz in his native Spain, Jurado referred to the game as his ‘debut’, an unofficial one.
He vowed that this is just the beginning, at the club he regards as the biggest club in the world. Don’t tell anybody at his former side, Barcelona.
Marc Jurado impresses v Cadiz
Jurado, 18, was a half-time substitute against Cadiz, one of 10 changes made by manager Erik ten Hag.
An FA Youth Cup winner at right-back last season, he has stepped up to the under-21s this campaign and performed well, scoring three goals.
Jurado showed his attacking intent against Cadiz, providing an assist just two minutes after coming on.
He played a key part in the build-up to United’s equaliser, slipping in a pass to Kobbie Mainoo’s feet, who cut inside, before firing a shot into the net, which took a helpful deflection.
Jurado largely defended very well. He stood up one on one, he held his position well, and was eager to get on the ball.
The only downside was the gamble he took by playing offside for Cadiz’s third goal, which looked a questionable refereeing decision, but with hindsight, he could have tracked the runner, or nudged him off balance.
These are the fine lines at first team level which can make a difference, and Jurado can learn from it. But it shouldn’t detract from a strong display and fine ‘debut’.
The strong progress Jurado has shown this season could give the club a decision to make. Should Jurado be given a challenge out on loan, like fellow Spaniard, Alvaro Fernandez at Preston North End?
Or considering Manchester United’s need for additional right-back depth, Jurado might come in useful if he sticks around. Especially considering Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s poor first half display.
Erik ten Hag will be intrigued to see how Jurado fares against Real Betis. There was reason for encouragement with his display last night, there’s a player there who the manager could work with, if he chooses not to dip into the transfer market at the position.