Why James Garner to Preston North End in January doesn’t make sense
Preston are currently flying high in the Championship after a bright start to the season and manager Alex Neil has identified the 18-year-old as someone who could possibly help the club in their surge for promotion. (h/t Sun)
However, if Preston are really serious about getting their hands on Garner, they would need to fend off interest from Championship rivals Wigan Athletic, as well as League One promotion hopefuls Sunderland, who are also keen to push hard for the teenager’s signature in January. (h/t Sun)
James Garner might be only 18 but he is held in high regard at Old Trafford, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer labelling him as the next Michael Carrick at the club.
The talented starlet has been regarded as a player with the potential to make a big impact on the Premier League in the years to come but Man United could be looking to provide the academy prospect with some much-needed exposure at the senior professional level by arranging a loan spell for him in January.
The 18-year-old, who made his first-team debut for the Red Devils towards the latter stages of the previous campaign, strengthened his claims of earning a substantial role at the senior level this term after making a big impression during the pre-season but he is yet to make an appearance thus far.
While fellow academy graduates like Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood have all had their fair share of first-team opportunities in the ongoing campaign, Garner has continued to ply his trade with the U-23s in the Premier League 2.
To that end, a loan move to a Championship club in January would definitely be in the best interests of all parties involved but Preston’s interest in James Garner doesn’t really make a lot of sense, given the wealth of midfield talent Alex Neil already has at his disposal.
Preston have laid down an early marker as one of the strong contenders for promotion this term, and while the prospect of joining one of the in-form sides in the second-tier is likely to appeal to the 18-year-old, one cannot help but wonder as to why the Lilywhites would want to bring in another defensive midfielder midway through the campaign.
Daniel Johnson has been one of the surprise packages in the Championship this season, with the 27-year-old racking up an impressive tally of 7 goals and 4 assists in 12 appearances to play a key role in Preston’s surge up the standings.
Johnson, though, is not the only one to have made an impact for Preston in the middle of the park this term. Ben Pearson has done a commendable job in deep midfield, with Neil rotating the likes of Johnson, Alan Browne and Paul Gallagher to partner the 24-year-old as a part of a double pivot in the midfield.
Such has been the level of consistency early in the campaign that someone like Ryan Ledson, who was touted as a big talent when he moved to Deepdale from Everton last year, has found regular minutes hard to come by.
To that end, James Garner, though a bright emerging prospect, is hardly going to get a look in from the manager if he completes a temporary move to Preston in January.
The 18-year-old hardly has any previous professional experience under his belt, and with so many more accomplished midfielders vying for a role, the teenager could find himself lost in the cold.
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Agreed, Man United need to send him out on loan to help him take the next big step in his development but, at the same time, they need to ensure that he plays regularly at some other club and that looks unlikely to happen at Deepdale.
That said, Preston making a move to sign James Garner on loan in January would simply be wasteful and potentially detrimental to all parties involved.