Nicky Butt reassures Manchester United fans over James Garner

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer resolving to use youth to improve Manchester United’s fortunes, James Garner might have expected to feature more than he has this season.

But while the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams have been handed enough chances to impress, Garner has had to wait.

That’s despite Paul Pogba’s injury and the departure of Ander Herrera leaving United short in midfield.

But Head of First Team Development Nicky Butt has issued a message on why there’s no panic if he’s not starting for the first team regularly yet.

What did Butt say?

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Butt spoke to United’s official website about many of the club’s youth prospect and on Garner, he said: “Jimmy Garner is a good player. He’s very mature for his age, so he can handle all the hype and all that comes with playing in the first team.

“He’s scored some good goals in the Under-23s and the EFL Trophy, so he’s developing that bit.

“He’s just got to be patient because he’s a very good player who will hopefully have a long career at Manchester United.

“There’s no rush with him. He’s still growing, still got to build himself up in the gym and naturally grow.”

What can Garner offer?

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Garner can dictate the pace of a game with his smart passing but it’s so tough to come in and do that at senior level.

He is also very slender which explains why Butt is preaching patience, by comparison to some other academy graduates whose pace or height has made them a more natural fit at an earlier stage.

But with Pogba still pontificating over a move while his fitness remains an issue, Garner can expect to get games as the season wears on and midfield reserves wear ever thinner.

With McTominay struggling to the extent that he pulled out of the Scotland squad and Nemanja Matic working his way back from injury, Garner may be called upon against Sheffield United after the international break.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.