The current crop of Manchester United youth that are breaking through into the first-team picture are some of the most promising talents that the club have seen in years.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils are turning to their academy prospects to help beef out the squad and create a core of young, hungry players to build around.
One player that continuously receives praise is James Garner, with the midfielder looking destined to have a bright future at Old Trafford.
No space at present?
Despite impressing during the club’s pre-season tour last summer, Garner has only featured in eight minutes of United’s 19/20 Premier League campaign. He has been awarded three starts in the Europa League, but it’s clear that Solskjaer is opting to pragmatically ease the midfielder into the first-team squad.
His cameos have come as a deep-laying playmaker, sitting back with the duties of recycling the ball, predominately against ‘lesser’ quality opponents. The 19-year-old looks assured on the ball, but this role on the field is not easy for any upcoming talent to suddenly break into.
Nemanja Matic has recently come back into form, whilst Fred and Scott McTominay are two of the most trusted members of the manager’s squad. United’s options in the middle of the park are not too short of options, with there being enough depth to warrant not prematurely throwing Garner into the starting XI.
With Bruno Fernandes nailing down a starting spot and the likes of Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata also lingering around the picture, there doesn’t seem to be a clear opening for Garner to capitalise on, just yet.
Brandon Williams has managed to nail down a permanent spot in next season’s plans, but he finds himself in a position with very little competition. It won’t be as straightforward for Garner, due to such options around the middle of the park, so a loan move could benefit his career.
Ready for a loan experience
For those who frequently keep up to date with the Manchester United U23’s, you won’t need to be reminded of the Englishman’s progression this season. Simply put, Garner looks a level above his competitors on the field.
With eight goals in ten games, the 19-year-old has started to showcase his abilities as a box to box midfielder, bursting forward and being the driving force behind his side’s attacking plan. Alongside these traits, he continues to distribute from deep, spraying the ball down the flanks to the likes of Aliou Traoré and Tahith Chong.
If United aren’t able to offer substantial minutes in their own first-team, opting to loan the teenager out seems the most practical decision, as opposed to another year in the Professional Development League.
Whether this be abroad or domestically, Garner has the potential to flourish in another organised set-up. Exposing him to a higher level would be the next step in his journey, as it’s one that he looks destined to grab with both hands.