James Garner showed once more with two goals for England’s under-19s that he has all the attributes to become a top class box-to-box midfielder.
Garner moved into double figures for goals for club and country this season with a brace for England’s Young Lions in their 5-0 Euro U19 qualifying win over North Macedonia.
It took his tally to 10 goals from 17 appearances, and he also got himself an assist.
The Manchester United midfielder, who was playing alongside club mate Ethan Laird, showcased his promising talent once again and the goals will do wonders for his ever growing confidence.
His first goal was a long-range thunderbolt which flew past the goalkeeper in the 72 minute, it was a venomous strike.
Garner, who was wearing the captain’s armband, smashed in his second strike in the 79th minute.
England’s number 8 reacted quicker than anyone else to a ball that broke on the edge of the box and hammered a shot into the bottom corner, which was too hot to handle for the North Macedonia stopper.
Paul Simpson’s men had seen off Luxembourg on Wednesday in their opening game on and followed that up with another convincing result in Skopje. Laird and Garner started that game as substitutes and were introduced on the hour mark.
The Young Lions will now round off their qualifying fixtures on Tuesday afternoon when they play Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Garner continues to impress
After impressing in every match for Neil Wood’s under-23 side, Garner has more than earned his step up into United’s first team.
Just like Brandon Williams, Garner will be waiting for that opportunity to stake his claim to start in the Premier League on a regular basis.
After the international break, the season enters its hectic festive schedule, which will hopefully provide Garner with ample first team game time.
With games to come against Astana, AZ Alkmaar and Colchester, Garner should be targeting starts in all of those games.
With Wood’s under-21 side drawn against Tranmere Rovers in the last 32 of the EFL Trophy, it may be wise for Garner’s development to drop down to that level to play another potential 90 minutes against a senior side.
The clash against the League One outfit is scheduled to take place on week commencing December 2nd.
The senior side host Tottenham on December 4th before making the short trip to the Etihad on December 7th for the Manchester Derby.
With Paul Pogba still a few weeks away from a return and Nemanja Matic heading for the exit door, Garner may be the beneficiary if McTominay’s injury rules him out of the clash against Sheffield United.
If the Scot hasn’t recovered in time, the likelihood is Garner would be given his first Premier League start alongside Fred in the trip to Bramhall Lane.
A performance similar to Williams’ against Brighton could give Garner command of the jersey.
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.
The 18-year-old was playing in a slightly more advanced role for the Young Lions, but there is no reason why he couldn’t line up alongside Fred and McTominay in a midfield three or be given a chance in the attacking midfield role.
Garner is knocking on the door, it is only a matter of time before he starts his first Premier League game.
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