Manchester United

Man Utd expected to give James Garner first-team chance in pre-season

Jamie Spencer
James Garner has had a good season with Nottingham Forest
James Garner has had a good season with Nottingham Forest / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester United are expected to give home-grown midfielder James Garner a chance to prove himself as a member of the first-team during pre-season in the summer.

Garner is currently impressing with Nottingham Forest on loan in the Championship, having returned to the City Ground for the 2021/22 campaign after initially joining in January 2021. Prior to that, he had also been a regular at Watford but lost his place after a managerial switch.

The 21-year-old, who made his United debut aged 17 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in early 2019, now has 74 Championship appearances under his belt and a good amount of senior experience.

Garner could yet help Forest return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years, with the club in play-off contention at this late stage of the campaign. He already played a major role in famous FA Cup wins over Arsenal and Leicester, while also impressing in a narrow defeat by Liverpool.

With his parent club increasingly likely to see the back of Paul Pogba in summer as his contract runs down, as well as doubts over Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic, midfield is an area of the pitch that will need strengthening more than ever come the summer transfer window.

United have been keeping an eye on all manner of players over the last 12 months, including Ruben Neves, Yves Bissouma and Aurelien Tchouameni. But even with a new acquisition or two, the potential for high turnover could still provide an opportunity for Garner.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that whoever United’s new manager – Erik ten Hag looks increasingly favoured for the job but Mauricio Pochettino is also an option – is set to hand Garner the chance to impress in pre-season games.

United will be heading to Thailand to face Liverpool in Bangkok in mid-July, followed by games against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace in Australia for their first summer tour since 2019.

The club’s academy has continued to produce in recent years, with Anthony Elanga making the permanent step up to the first-team this season, having impressed in friendlies last summer.

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