Home ยป James Garner’s scintillating form at Everton points to another transfer failure for Manchester United

James Garner’s scintillating form at Everton points to another transfer failure for Manchester United

by Alex Browne
James Garner Everton

James Garner has taken to life at Everton like a fish to water. Unfortunately for Manchester United’s decision makers, it seems the Red Devils midfield has been trying to swim up current all season.

It came to a shock to many when Erik ten Hag sanctioned the sale of James Garner back in August 2022. The Dutch coach had barely arrived and had only seen the player for a combined 98 minutes over three games before deciding the academy product was surplus to requirements.

In fact, according to The Manchester Evening News (MEN), third parties were told about his departure before the youngster was even informed. David de Gea and Louis van Gaal would also most likely have something to say about this type of treatment.

Resultingly, Garner joined the blue side of Merseyside and has had an impressive start to life as a regular in the Premier League. The academy graduate, who had been at United since under eight level, has already amassed 15 games, scoring 2 goals and creating another. According to transfermarkt, he has also only picked up two yellow cards. That is discipline any of United’s current midfielders would kill for.

The 22 year old also boasts an impressive 7.3 season rating for the season so far on Sofascore. Back in September, the man from Birkenhead scored in a notable 2-1 win away at Aston Villa to knock the Villans out of the league cup. He also achieved a mammoth 8.3 on Sofascore for his night’s work. For context, Villa have won 13 consecutive home games in the league.

The Peoples Person raised concern in August 2022 about the type of message the club was sending by discarding an academy product to chase stars from other teams’ academies like Antony. It is a no-brainer which player is currently more highly valued in Premier League circles between Garner and the much-maligned Brazilian winger.

James Garner was truthfully never given a chance to shine at the club, which is strange as he was heavily praised by influential voices at Old Trafford like Jose Mourinho, Bruno Fernandes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The academy product only made seven senior first team appearances. A paltry two in the Premier League.

“He is a player” Mourinho said of the then 16 year old Garner in 2018 as he went on United’s pre-season tour. Solskjaer called him a “Michael Carrick” type player. Forest fans felt he was “magic” during his highly successful spell that saw the club promoted back to topflight football in 2022.

They currently love him down the M62 as well. One Everton season ticket holder called him “really consistent” and another described him as being “really good on the ball and can pick a pass”.

The MEN article also affirms that Garner’s effort levels in training have “quickly endeared himself” to manager, Sean Dyche. The 22 year old was also crucial for Everton when they needed him most. Playing at right wing back in their last day escape from relegation against Bournemouth in May, Garner put in a 6.9 rating in an unfamiliar role.

Letting go of a local academy product without a real chance is barely forgivable for a club like United, who prides itself in giving youngsters a clear route into the team. It is most definitely not pardonable when you consider the malaise the Red Devils’ midfield is currently in.

For a variety of reasons, ranging from injuries, form and aging, all of United’s midfield department have underwhelmed this season with the possible exception of Scott McTominay. Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat have all had significantly worse campaigns than James Garner this season.

Dubbed not good enough to make the cut in summer 2022 and sold to help fund flops like Antony, the choice to sell Garner is another decision to add to the list of Glazer-fuelled poor choices.

As Everton prepare to host Manchester United this Sunday afternoon, who would bet against James Garner putting in a storming display against his former team?

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