Manchester United youngster James Garner is hoping he gets an opportunity over the coming weeks to impress in the first team.
During the lockdown period Garner was picked out by United teammate Fred as the club’s best young talent.
Fred told Brazilian outlet Trivela “Who impresses me most is Jimmy Garner. Not because he is in the same position as me, but he is a player who has an impressive vision of the game, has a huge future for United.
“In addition to the impressive game vision, he always plays with his head up, has an impressive kick, an incredible pass. He is a player that I admire a lot.”
Now Garner has had his say on what hearing Fred’s praise means to him, and he is using it as motivation, as he wants to win others over too.
Encouraging to hear
Garner, 19, told the club website: “It was very nice to hear it. When you see that kind of stuff, it makes you smile but it also makes you want to get better to show him, and not just him but everyone, that they can have the same opinion.
“The main goal is to get into the first team and, really, I’ll take it from there. Each day, I’ll try to impress and eventually try to get into the team.”
Garner knows that hearing praise from £47 million midfielder Fred is not enough. He has to be aiming to take his spot.
A fortnight ago Garner was called up into first team training, and while he did not make the 20-man matchday squad against Tottenham on Friday, there could be opportunities ahead.
Garner has had a promising season, making four starts in the Europa League, and scoring nine goals from central midfield for the under-23s.
It has led to debate whether he needs to go out on loan in order to play regular football, or if he should stay put. For now at least with the loan market closed, United are giving him the opportunity to compete.
He has to win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is balancing an embarrassment of riches in central midfield right now. It will take an unwelcome injury or two for Garner to rise up the ranks.
But every time he has got the call this season he has shown he is ready, and he must keep it that way. If he works hard, eventually his chance may come.
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