James Garner has been very impressive in his limited pre-season chances for Manchester United so far.
The 18-year-old midfielder came off the bench to score against Perth with his first touch.
Then against Leeds he showed more bright touches as he came on with United cruising to a win.
So far, so good. But we need to see more. To really learn about Garner, he needs a fuller opportunity.
In both games he has been used as United’s 23rd man, coming on for the final 10-15 minutes, in place of a player who had already been brought on at half-time.
Fair play to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to making sure Garner gets minutes.
At this point though, surely he has to recognise that the teenager has done enough to deserve a more prominent role.
United can learn a lot about Garner by choosing to start him against Inter Milan in Singapore, or in the following game with Tottenham.
Either he is ready, or he’s not. There is one way to find out, and that’s to throw him in at the deep end in United’s biggest game so far.
If he passes with flying colours, then it’s a very, very promising sign and Garner might become a genuine first team option this season.
It would certainly negate need to sign Sean Longstaff for big money.
We can learn more from giving Garner more minutes than we can about Matic, for instance. On the basis of his efforts so far, he’s earned it.
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More Tuanzebe too
Axel Tuanzebe sat out United’s comfortable win over Leeds, after playing a starring role against Perth.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke highly of Tuanzebe this week, telling the club website: “Axel has got a great chance of staying here and playing.
“He’s one of the young exciting players I can’t wait to see more of.”
There are a lot of numbers in defence, and somebody has to go, especially if Harry Maguire signs.
Tuanzebe has far higher upside than Marcos Rojo or Phil Jones. It makes much more sense to keep him.
He needs to be given more opportunities in the upcoming friendlies with Inter and Tottenham.
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