Manchester United has always been a hot-bed for the superstars of tomorrow. Credit where it’s due, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has tried to continue that mantra.
From Mason Greenwood to Brandon Williams, and Scott McTominay to Marcus Rashford, academy graduates aplenty are getting there chance.
It was surprising to me, then, when Fred names 19-year-old United starlet James Garner, who is yet to make a Premier League start, as the player who impresses him the most.
Now I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet here but we’ve been banging the Garner drum for at least twelve months. Again, he was taken on pre-season tour but sparingly used. We’ve hardly seen him during the season, either, which leads me to believe there’s something going on behind the scenes…
“They are great players,” he said when asked about both Greenwood and Brandon Williams by Brazilian media outlet Trivela.
“The club has an important role in using many base players, it has this history of using the kids that come up from the base, it stays in the professional and makes history in the club, and this process is important.
“They are great players, with a lot of potential for the future.
“All are very good, they are not in the professional for nothing. But what impresses me most is Jimmy Garner.”
This is a youngster who could’ve easily done the job that Andreas Pereira has been doing this term, while Garner actually has a brighter future than his Brazilian compatriot.
I always thought that perhaps Garner wasn’t impressing on the training ground, hence his constant exclusions, but Fred, who trains with him day-in-day-out, has him ahead of the likes of Greenwood in his pecking order of top talents.
We’re approaching that make or break stage, I feel. Either play Garner soon, let him go out on loan or sell him off completely. There’s only so much he’ll learn from playing with the reserves and this season, he has been by far and away United’s best player at U23 level. He’s definitely ready for that step up.