With Man Utd 3-1 ahead and comfortable against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, Man Utd turned to youth. With a host of injuries and a threadbare squad, Reds youngster James Garner came on in the closing stages to make his senior United debut. It was only a brief cameo for the 17-year-old but nothing can take away the fact that the lad from Birkenhead has got a first team debut under his belt. It is surely the first appearance of many.
There was a lot of talk ahead of the game that the likes of Garner,
Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood may get some game time,
but in the end Garner was the only youngster to be subbed on by Ole
He enjoyed a marvellous first full year at Under-18 level, making 24
appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals and emerging as an
outstanding contributor. So much so, he was shortlisted for the Jimmy
Murphy Young Player of the Year award.
Garner's leadership qualities and outstanding work in the middle of the
park helped the young Reds win the 2017/18 Premier League North title
but he missed the national final against Chelsea due to his
international commitments, skippering his country in the European
Following a breakthrough season for the Reds, Garner put pen-to-paper on
a first professional contract in the boardroom at Old Trafford and
hopes are high he will push on further.
Garner was one of four youngsters to travel down south with the
squad in the midst of an injury criris. Chong joined the
midfielder on the bench while Greenwood and Gomes had to settle for a place in the stands.
who has been on the bench against Valencia in the Champions League and
Reading in the FA Cup this season, became the 230th Academy graduate to
be given his Manchester United first team bow and took to Instagram after the game to express
"Proud moment for me and my family making my Manchester United debut! Dream come true," Garner wrote.
Garrner has drawn comparisons with his first team coach Michael Carrick, Garner is a technically gifted central midfielder, who can play just in
front of the back four, slightly further forward or even in central
The 17-year-old's technical attributes are incredibly strong for someone of his age, showcasing his superb talent.
Solskjaer was full of praise for the teenager and believes he has a bright future ahead of him.
He said: "I believe he's got the chance to have a great future.
"He knows we believe in him, we've got great faith in him as the
next Michael Carrick. I know he's young and I know it's not fair on kids
to compare to great players like Michael was, but he's the same mould,
he plays simple passes, plays through the lines. Scott McTominay did
really well today, some of the passes through the lines into Paul were
"You're at Man United, so Michael had the pressure of coming in after Roy Keane, that's just the way it is at Man United. I am sure he will be fine, with Nemanja (Matic) and Ander (Herrera) out, Garner will get plenty more chances. We might even think about him for Southampton on Saturday."