View: Is James Garner the solution to Manchester United's midfield woes?
Man United are crying out for a defensive midfielder to add stability to their team – but could James Garner become that man?
The 21-year-old is one of the club’s brightest prospects and established himself as a capable midfield anchor on loan at Nottingham Forest last season.
Garner was an unused sub in the Red Devil’s opening day loss to Brighton at Old Trafford, with Scott McTominay preferred to him.
In a post-match interview, Erik ten Hag said: “We have to analyse and learn lessons from it.
“I am totally not satisfied, we should have done things better.
McTominay did not have a good game and left many people wondering why Garner was not given a chance on the day.
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Does Garner deserve a chance?
Manchester United have been crying out for a midfield anchor for years now, and are still yet to fill the gaping void in that position.
McTominay has been the preferred option in that position, often paired with Brazilian midfielder Fred, however, he does not have the capabilities to perform in that role.
Against Brighton, he ranked seventh out of the 14 players that got onto the pitch for passes attempted, only attempting 27 in 90 minutes, with a terrible pass completion rate of 66.7% and not making a single tackle in the 77 minutes he featured.
His inability to take the ball off the back four and dictate play has been a well-known problem for years now and was very evident against the Seagulls.
This makes ten Hag’s decision not to play Garner even more confusing as he has demonstrated that he does have the ability to excel in that position for the Red Devils.
the The defensive midfielder, made 48 appearances, scoring four goals and providing 10 assists as his performances helped the club win the play-off and achieve promotion to the Premier League.
30 of these appearances were in the defensive midfield position, and he was able show ability in interceptions, set pieces and incisive, key passes.
He has received some minutes during the club’s pre-season, most notable playing 73 minutes in their pre-season draw against Rayo Vallecano, but it is time that he is given a fair chance in the first team.
In other Manchester United news, the club are set to miss out on striker Benjamin Sesko.