James Garner has been stunning for Nottingham Forest this season, with a first-team opportunity at Man United surely just around the corner.
Manchester United have been a mess at first-team level all season. Under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, the lack of fight and desire has been borderline disgraceful.
Plenty has to change before Old Trafford is laden with trophies once again. Most notably, the attitude within that dressing room needs major adjustment.
Some passengers have to be moved on. No doubt we will see huge turnover, particularly with several lads out of contract in just a few weeks’ time.
It’s down to Erik ten Hag to change the mantra and adjust the mindset. Perhaps that’ll start with adding a few younger players to the mix. After all, the U23s, U18s and several loanees have been flying the flag proudly.
One player who very much fits into that bracket is James Garner. United had already earmarked the Birkenhead-born midfielder as someone with future first-team potential. Though we believe that time is now.
The 21-year-old United star more than deserves his chance after some stunning form while on loan over at Nottingham Forest. He’s been an integral part of the setup for the Championship club, who finished third in the table and will feature in the playoffs.
First and foremost, United are crying out for that workhorse in midfield. Nemanja Matic is leaving and those minutes need to be replaced. I would argue Garner has already overtaken the Serbian in the pecking order, if the latter chose to remain at Old Trafford.
It’s the fact that Garner does the simple things so well. He doesn’t shy away from a tackle, nor is he easily beaten by his opposite number. Time and time again, we’ve watched our lads stroll around the middle of the pack without a care in the world.
That’s not all Garner does, either. He contributes in an attacking capacity too. Twelve goals and assists combined for a deeper-lying midfielder is a stunning return. Yes, those numbers will probably slow down in the Premier League, but he’s always had that eye for a long-distance goal.
United are at their best when promoting from within. This fascination and obsession with signing marquee players to appease the fans hasn’t worked. The Reds excel at developing youth. Why not get back to your roots? Starting with Garner, who is now more than experienced to take that next step.
Nobody is asking Garner to come in and be our saviour. Just play his part every now and then. He’ll need time to adjust and adapt, though I genuinely believe this boy is ready for the opportunity that he’s been craving for over the last few seasons.
At the very least, you can bet Erik ten Hag is watching those Championship playoffs keenly, with Garner set to feature heavily…
Is James Garner good enough for Man United? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.