Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 3-1 this evening with Romelu Lukaku and Ashley Young both getting on the scoresheet. The game may be remembered for the debut of the promising James Garner though, who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave his debut to tonight. He became the fifth youngest player to represent the club in the Premier League, after Angel Gomes, Federico Macheda, Nicky Butt and Danny Welbeck.
The 17-year-old becomes the 230th academy player to represent the first team, with Solskjaer keen to continue the traditions of Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson in promoting youth.
When Solskjaer allowed Marouane Fellaini to leave the club in January, he did so knowing that there may well be injuries to come, like we are suffering from at the moment, but was keen to give our youngsters a go instead of relying on the Belgian as our plan B.
Garner was shortlisted for the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award following his displays for the Under-18s last season, eventually losing out to Tahith Chong. Garner started his United career in the Under-8s, so it’s a proud moment for him to make his way to the first team.
Solskjaer sung his praises after the game, comparing him to coach and former player Michael Carrick.
I believe he has the chance to have a great future. Of course, he has to keep working. We have great faith in him as the next Carrick. I know he’s young but he’s in the same mould. He can see the game, he plays simple passes, he sees through the line.
Well done, Jimmy!