Owen Hargreaves hopeful £37m new boy Amad Diallo is a ‘special one for the future’ after making his Man United debut but warns he must make a ‘significant impact given the money they paid’… as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims he is close to his first start
Owen Hargreaves is excited about what the future holds for Amad Diallo at Manchester United but warned the club will want a big impact from him given his price tag.
Diallo made his United debut in the 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad on Thursday evening following his long-awaited £37million move from Atalanta, coming on as a late substitute during the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie.
There is plenty of hype surrounding the 18-year-old’s future, with many tipping him to go onto big things after already impressing for United’s Under 23s in the couple of games he played for them.
Amad Diallo made his debut for Manchester United against Real Sociedad on Thursday
The teenager came on as a late sub for Mason Greenwood during the Europa League clash
And Hargreaves admitted that there will be pressure on the teenage winger’s shoulders to deliver given that United spent big money on him.
When asked whether Diallo could be a potential alternative to Jadon Sancho – who was close to signing for United last summer – Hargreaves replied on BT Sport: ‘Well, I think when you sign players for that amount of money, you want them to have an impact.
‘They obviously believe in him and that’s why he was on the bench tonight and came on.
‘(Anthony) Martial and (Marcus) Rashford are setting the levels of what it means, but for the money they paid, they’re going to want a pretty significant impact.
‘For Jadon Sancho, that category of player is already established, but Diallo is at the start. Hopefully he’s a special one for the future.’
Owen Hargreaves said United will want a ‘significant impact’ from Diallo due to his price tag
Meanwhile, Hargreaves’ fellow pundit and United legend Paul Scholes insisted that Diallo will need time to settle in at Old Trafford but is relishing the chance to see him play more.
‘We didn’t see too much of him tonight, did we?’ Scholes said after the teenager’s late cameo. ‘He looks a talented player, I watched the Under 23s last week and he scored a goal and made a couple.
‘He’s got real talent, got a nice left foot. Is he quick? I’m not too sure, I haven’t seen that yet. I think he’s a creative player, still a young player at 18, but give him time and hopefully he’ll do well for us.’
It was a brilliant evening all round for United as they all-but secured their passage to the last-16 of the Europa League after thrashing Sociedad 4-0 in Turin.
Bruno Fernandes scored twice before Rashford and Daniel James got on the scoresheet against the LaLiga outfit.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted Diallo could make his first start soon
And with the result wrapped up, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave United fans their wish by putting Diallo on for the final seven minutes – replacing Mason Greenwood.
And speaking following the final whistle, Solskjaer admitted that Diallo will be given an even bigger role in the near future.
‘He’s getting closer and closer to his minutes by the day,’ Solskjaer told BT Sport. ‘That is why we felt towards the end when we were 3-0 up to go and let him enjoy his first 10 minutes for the club.’
During his post-match press conference, Solskjaer added: ‘We’ll make a decision on [his first start] after Newcastle [on Sunday].
‘He’s had a couple of games in the reserves and there’s still a few players on the bench that would want to start of course but Amad is getting closer we’ll see how much game time he will get.’