Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shows James Garner fondness ahead of Watford FA Cup tie
Man Utd: Solskjaer previews Watford FA Cup clash
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted he’s a huge fan of James Garner. The Watford star won’t be able to play against his parent club when the two teams face off in the FA Cup on Saturday. But the Norwegian has revealed the club ‘believe’ in the 19-year-old, who made his debut back in 2019.
United go up against Watford looking to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The Red Devils haven’t won the competition since 2016, back when Louis van Gaal ruled the Old Trafford roost, and are determined to end their current four-year wait for a trophy.
One player who won’t be involved in the contest, however, is Garner.
The 19-year-old is spending the season on loan at Watford from United and FA rules prevent him from taking part.
Garner made his Red Devils debut in a win over Crystal Palace in 2019 and United are hopeful he’ll return from his loan spell at Vicarage Road significantly improved.
And, speaking ahead of Saturday’s showdown, Solskjaer showed he was fond of the teenager and had high hopes for Garner’s future.
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“Jimmy [Garner] has done really well [at Watford],” said the 47-year-old.
“Then there was a change of manager and the new manager has had only two games and Jimmy hasn’t really had a look-in.
“The first four or five months have been really positive for Jimmy.
“He’s a boy that we really believe in. Of course he needs that game time and exposure and the Championship is a very good level of football, so it’s been really good for Jimmy and hopefully he can fight his way back in the team again.”
Garner recently admitted he was yet to hit top form for Watford, delivering an honest assessment of his performances for the Championship side so far.
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“I wouldn’t say I’ve been at my best lately,” said the teenager, who has been likened to a young Michael Carrick as a result of his standout performances at youth level over the years.
“The games have been tough, there have been lots of long balls, second balls, teams with big strikers, tall, aggressive players and lots of set-pieces.
“I knew that was very important in the Championship and it’s something I need to continue to work on. Also with my attacking set-pieces.
“The manager put me on set-pieces, on corners, on free-kicks so I need to knuckle down and start putting them on the money.”
He then added: “I’ve got to do the dirty side. In the majority of games, you’ve got to do the dirty side first and the football comes out second.
“It’s about weathering that storm for 15 to 20 minutes and then letting our quality come through. I feel that’s in me.
“I always played with older, bigger and stronger players in the youth teams. I was playing as a six doing the dirty work.
“I’m not scared of it, I love doing it. It’s not all about assisting and scoring.”
United reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup last season, eventually losing to Chelsea at Wembley.
The Blues were then beaten by Arsenal in the final, with the Gunners winning the trophy 14 times – more than any other side.
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