Manchester United youngster Alvaro Fernandez came close to making his first team debut last season, making the bench four times at the end of the season.
The talented Spaniard did not quite make it onto the pitch, and is hoping to make the next step in 2022/23 under new manager Erik ten Hag.
Fernandez won Manchester United’s under-23 player of the year award for a succession of strong performances at left-back.
Now he is being tipped to play a prominent role in the upcoming pre-season tour, with United set to play five matches in July ahead of the Premier League season.
‘Very gifted’ Alvaro Fernandez
Former Manchester United prospect Ben Thornley told MUTV’s The Debate that Fernandez is the young player he is most fascinated to see on the pre-season tour.
Thornley explained: “I do the commentary for the 23s for the most part and he has certainly been the outstanding performer, for me, especially at a time when we’ve sometimes filled square pegs in round holes when it comes to the full-back positions and he is a very very gifted player.
“He’s comfortable on the ball, he can score goals, get forward and join in attacks. There’s more to learn, he’s only a young lad, but for me he was head and shoulders the best player for the under 23s last season and I will be really excited to see how he does, should be go on the tour, which I’m pretty sure he will.”
Fernandez will be part of the first team group returning earliest on June 27, along with Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams, while Alex Telles will only return later due to his international involvement.
This could give Fernandez an early chance to impress the coaching staff and stake a claim to land a spot on the overseas tour.
A loan next season is still a possibility for the 18-year-old, but that decision may only come later, after pre-season if at all.
Last season Fernandez scored four goals in all competitions and provided nine assists, second only to Shola Shoretire (11) in his age group.
Fernandez could become a real wildcard for Ten Hag in pre-season if he seizes his chance, and may never look back. The former Real Madrid prospect could have a big future ahead of him, and will hope this summer will be a turning point.
- Manchester United v Liverpool: July 12, 2pm UK time, venue: Thailand.
- Manchester United v Melbourne Victory: July 15, 11.05am UK time, venue: Australia.
- Manchester United v Crystal Palace: July 19, 11.10am UK time, venue: Australia.
- Manchester United v Aston Villa, July 23, 10.45am, venue: Australia
- Manchester United v Atletico Madrid, July 30: 1pm, venue: Norway