James Garner deserves Manchester United chance under Erik Ten Hag
James Garner has been a name long on the lips of Manchester United fans who have been discussing potential youth products stepping up to the first team.
A central midfielder, the 21-year-old has been on the radar of avid youth football fans for a long time.
His loan to Watford last season was set to be the start of a prosperous career in league football, but when the manager was sacked he found himself sidelined and lacking minutes.
Rather than wait it out he moved in January, turning up at Nottingham Forest where he was immediately placed in the side as an integral cog and shone as one of their better players.
With no place in the first-team at Old Trafford yet, he returned to the City Ground and this season has had a stand-out campaign in the Championship as he helped Forest towards the playoffs.
Now with Ajax manager Erik Ten Hag’s arrival at Manchester United confirmed for next season, it opens up an opportunity for the England Under-21 international to stake a claim in the Premier League.
Since moving to Forest on loan, his game has developed dramatically. Once a holding midfielder with an excellent passing range who dictated the tempo, Garner is now a box-to-box player in every sense of the word.
He has chipped in with goals and assists, while he also breaks play up deeper and can drive the ball forward with his dribbling.
With Nemanja Matic confirmed to leave at the end of the season and Paul Pogba almost certain to follow him out of the door, there is a gap for someone like Garner to make an impact.
Under Ten Hag there will be opportunities for young players if they’re good enough. He has proven that before and the squad is in need of a rebuild.
If any of the young players at the club deserve a first-team chance it’s him. He’s gone away and proven himself and is now a genuine option in a problem position. He deserves his chance.
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