James Garner is the player we want to see make his first ever competitive start for Manchester United this week.

The 18-year-old made his debut as a last minute substitute last season against Crystal Palace, but has had to be patient since.

This week’s Carabao Cup third round clash against Rochdale at Old Trafford seems like an ideal chance to bring him in.

Lets explore that a bit further. Here are three reasons why this is the right moment for Garner to get his shot…

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He’s earned it

Garner stood out in pre-season in his limited opportunities, and left fans wanting more. His goal in the friendly win over Perth Glory showed he is confident, lashing home an opportunist strike from 20 yards out.

He has risen to the challenge since, becoming one of the under-23s most consistent players.

Garner has been a real threat from midfield, scoring four goals in four under-23 games this season. He also provided an assist in the EFL Trophy win over Rotherham, with a remarkable cross field pass to Largie Ramazani.


Having risen to every challenge put in front of him over the past three months, Garner deserves this chance to test himself at a higher level in the first team.

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United need him

Garner was on the bench in the Europa League against Astana although did not get on.

What if there was an injury and he was needed? United will be far better prepared for a scenario like this if they give Garner a start and experience organically, rather than being pushed into it as an emergency.

United’s midfield is a problem area in the squad and Garner might be a better option than some of United’s first team stars.

This is his chance to show what he is capable of, and present a new solution at Old Trafford.

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Chance to play alongside Pogba

The Manchester Evening News report Paul Pogba could make his return from injury for United in the Rochdale game.

Getting the chance to start in midfield alongside the World Cup winner is potentially a fantastic opportunity for Garner, and gives him the best possible chance to succeed.

This might help in league matches too. Garner and Pogba are a potential midfield partnership going forward and the more time they get to adjust to each other, the better.

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