James Garner’s excellent season for Manchester United’s under-23 team continued last night.

In just the second under-23 league game in 2020, Garner scored two goals in a 3-2 victory over Stoke City.

It was a hard fought game against a side which featured two senior ex United players, Ryan Shawcross and Mame Biram Diouf.

Angel Gomes was also on the scoresheet and he set up Garner for his second goal, with a defence splitting pass which allowed the on-running midfielder to lob the goalkeeper with one touch.

Garner’s first goal was a header, and he now has three goals in his last three under-23 matches.

A fortnight ago he scored a solo goal against Club Brugge in an under-19s friendly, with the variety of strikes he scores just as impressive as getting onto the scoresheet himself.

(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Message to Solskjaer

Garner made four starts for United in the Europa League in the first half of the season.

 

He has not started a Premier League games yet, and while Scott McTominay’s return and possibly Paul Pogba’s will make his task tougher, this was a message that he should not be ignored.

It’s possible United may regret not letting him leave on loan, but this was a tough game last night and useful for his development.

It would be a big shame if he is not at least on the bench for the FA Cup fixture against Derby County on Thursday night.

There is enough time between games to make it possible that he even starts.

Supporters continue to be delighted with Garner’s progress, and he has nine goals in under-23/under-21 matches this season.

One fan even described him as United’s best midfield prospect since Paul Pogba came through the academy.

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