This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
As quoted by the club’s official website, Nicky Butt has delivered his verdict on Manchester United starlet James Garner.
The 18-year-old has made just the three appearances for the senior side this season, with only eight minutes of Premier League football to his name. He has however been in fine form at Premier League 2 level with the U23s, scoring five goals in five games.
Despite seeing him predominantly feature on the fringes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team squad, Butt hailed the teenager’s mentality, and insisted that being patient now will reward him handsomely in the future.
He said: “Jimmy Garner is a good player. He’s very mature for his age, so he can handle all the hype and all that comes with playing in the first team. He’s scored some good goals in the Under-23s and the EFL Trophy, so he’s developing that bit.
“He’s just got to be patient because he’s a very good player who will hopefully have a long career at Manchester United. There’s no rush with him. He’s still growing, still got to build himself up in the gym and naturally grow.”
It’s the one thing all young players desperately need. Being thrown in at the deep end can be a dangerous approach for those who are trying to break through into the first-team, and it’s very much a toss-up between who sinks and who swims.
In Garner, United have a central midfielder who has shown he has an eye for goal this season in his time with the academy sides. And with the future of Paul Pogba still seemingly uncertain, the Red Devils starlet will surely be getting ample first-team opportunities in the near future. Butt’s profile of the teenager makes for good reading for the club, with mentality often being the difference in making it to the very top of the game.
That maturity of being able to handle all the pressure and the limelight that comes with playing for one of the biggest sides in the world will hold Garner in great stead. And that is exactly why Butt’s verdict on him should be encouraging for those of a United persuasion.