Manchester United’s ‘Next Michael Carrick’: Why The Time May Have Come for James Garner

Dubbed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the next Michael Carrick, James Garner looks to have a promising future ahead of him. The 19-year-old has been tremendous for the Manchester United Under-23 team this season and appears to have bags of potential. That said, he has not had the same first-team breakout as that of Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams this season, but the time may have come for the youngster.

Why The Time May Have Come for James Garner

There seem to be many factors surrounding Garner which can provide him with the best possible chance at breaking out into a Premier League star.

Solskjaer’s Trust in Youth

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has clearly demonstrated his trust in youth with the Red Devils. In November, the Norwegian played the youngest ever Premier League starting XI, with an average age of 23 years and 350 days. Furthermore, in a Europa League tie with Astana, Solskjaer fielded United’s youngest ever starting team in a European competition. They had an average age of 22 years and 26 days, featuring seven teenagers and a 36-year-old goalkeeper who significantly increases the average.

Solskjaer’s faith in youth has not been fruitless, either. His guidance has seen 2019/20 be the breakout season for two academy graduates. Mason Greenwood plays regularly for United, while Brandon Williams often starts at left-back. Both of these players have looked fantastic playing with United’s first team. Greenwood is their third-highest goal scorer with 12 to his name and has shown his natural talent for finding the back of the net.

Williams has also worked wonders for United this season. The English defender has not only played admirably when called upon but has also brought out the best in Luke Shaw, taking him out of a slump of bad form. Shaw and Williams seem to compliment each other wonderfully, and they could be the Red Devils’ left-backs of the future.

This confidence in young players could translate to Garner as well, and somewhat already has. The midfielder has played four times in the Europa League this campaign, starting on three occasions, and has also been handed a Premier League appearance. While he has not had the same amount of opportunities as Greenwood or Williams, Garner’s time may come, and sooner rather than later as well.

James Garner’s good form

If Solskjaer were to put his trust in the young English midfielder, it certainly would not be undeserved. Garner has played extremely well in the Premier League 2 this season, netting eight times in ten appearances. As a defensive midfielder, Garner would not be expected to bag this many goals. Not even United legend Michael Carrick could score this regularly, and while it is more on a par with Paul Scholes, he played in a far more attacking role.

Furthermore, Garner has the ability to pick out pinpoint passes, playing some incredible balls. He creates many chances for the Manchester United U23s and has been a key asset in their successful season so far.

The Time May Have Come For James Garner: When Will he Break Through?

With much uncertainty as to how the Premier League season will end, we cannot be sure how soon James Garner will get a chance in the first team. Despite this, a possibility of how the season may end would be to condense the remaining fixtures into a shorter amount of time over the summer, something which would result in more fixture congestion, and thus more need for squad rotation. Garner would surely be one of Solskjaer’s first picks from the U23s to play in a first-team game for Manchester United, and he may get his chance as soon as the Premier League’s restart.

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